UNICEF: Delhi pollution a wakeup call

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said the record air pollution in Delhi is a wake up call for the world and if decisive actions are not taken to check it, the smog in National Capital and its adverse impact on the daily lives of its citizens will become a commonplace phenomenon.

The UNICEF said it is a wake up call to all countries and cities where air pollution levels have resulted in death and illness amongst children.

Air pollution level hit record high in New Delhi in the past week following Diwali celebration.

The capital’s smog, said to be its worst in 17 years, lead to the closure of the city’s over 5,000 schools to minimise the risk for children to be exposed to the polluted air and resulted in an estimated 4.41 million children missing three days of school, the UNICEF said.

According to estimates, air pollution levels hit 999 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter in some areas of the national capital, more than 15-16 times the limit considered safe.

The agency underscored that the alarming level of air pollution is not just a challenge in Delhi but for many cities around the world. Air pollution levels in other Indian cities, such as Varanasi and Lucknow, have been equally extreme in recent days.

And over the past year, air pollution levels in London, Beijing, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Manila have exceeded international guidelines – in some cases by considerable margin, it said.

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