In recent months the air quality in the Northern States of India has reached hazardous levels. The state having the worst air quality, Delhi, is now having to pass out face masks to protect their citizens from the pollution.
The NASA Worldview image above shows that there is a large concentration of particulate matter around Northern India as shown by the dark red portions of the image above.
The Copernicus Global Forecast Plot corroborates this information as there are dark red spots in Northern India similar to the ones in the NASA Worldview image above.
The World Air Map chart shows that the AQI in Delhi increased drastically from November to December. The PM level in this state regularly surpassed 103 ug/m*3 which for the US would be placed within the red or Unhealthy zone (65-150 ug/m*3). On November 15th it is also reported that the particulate matter was measured to be 380 ug/m*3 which is well into the Hazardous level (>250 ug/m*3)in the US.
The World Health Organization has stated that breathing in the air in Dehli is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Vox reports that there are multiple possible causes of the increased levels of air pollution in North India. For one, much of the Indian population drive vehicles that are not energy efficient and with such a large population on the road, it leads to a large amount of carbon emitted from these exhausts. The state is also largely powered by coal and locals often use fires to cook food. Finally, a newly passed water law has pushed poorer farmers in the region to burn their fields to fertilize their fields quickly and cost-efficiently to be able to get good yields. However, the particles released from these fires have often drifted into the Delhi region increasing air pollution in the state.