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Air Pollution in New Delhi Spikes as Millions Burst Firecrackers

  • India’s capital is one of the world’s most polluted megacities
  • New Lancet report says pollution costs $4.6 trillion per year

Air pollution levels in India’s capital soared off the charts once again as millions of Indians burst fire crackers to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, despite a Supreme Court ban on the sale of fireworks in the region.

Already one of the world’s most notoriously polluted mega cities, the capital saw its air quality index (AQI) gradually worsen until it reached a level of 1,031 around 9 a.m. on Friday, according to the United States embassy in New Delhi. A reading of 0-50 is considered good, while levels between 300 and 500 are considered "hazardous." Anything above 500 is considered "Beyond Index."