The Indian government ordered construction sites in New Delhi and Mumbai to close for 4-7 days, along with schools and some businesses, due to air pollution. Indian officials say, current conditions risk bad health in local citizens. The government advised all office workers to stay home; they also ordered motorists to abstain from driving whenever possible.
India’s environmental monitoring agency SAFAR said that the cities’ air quality index decreased to the “very poor” category beginning Sunday, November 14th. Many areas sit at levels considered six times more potent than the “deadly” classification, according the Associated Press.
While many know India’s largest cities’ reputations for bad air, several factors came together to create a perfect storm in New Delhi. The excessive use of fireworks when celebrating Diwali earlier in the month “degraded the air from the ‘very poor’ to the ‘severe’ category.”
Crop stubble burning around the city stands as the leading cause for bad air. A cold front trapped most of the smoke in town, causing toxic inversion.
Shutdowns due to pollution hit construction workers hard; closed construction sites mean no jobs. However, some work continues at prefab locations and warehouses.