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Many India's big cities are experiencing such hazardous air pollution that it almost defies belief. The standard measurement healthy, normal, breathable air is set a level of 50 according the Air Quality Index (AQI). A level 300 means the air is hazardous to breathe. The AQI website says 300 represents a health alert and the city should be put emergency conditions. The website says that, "everyone may experience more serious health effects". On November 8, the city Chandrapur Maharashtra reached an AQI level of 824, to become India's most polluted city. The capital New Delhi has reached an AQI 724. Environmentalists say many cities are now like "gas chambers".

A toxic haze shrouds India's capital and residents are being warned to wear masks. Schools were ordered closed three days. New Delhi generally has its fair share pollution problems due the nine million vehicles that clog its streets, most not conforming to emissions standards. The situation has been made worse recently due a number factors. These include chemical pollution blowing from nearby states, farmers setting fire straw as autumn arrives, and a lack wind. To alleviate the crisis, city officials have ordered roads to be doused water to stop dust rising. They have also banned diesel-powered electricity generators 10 days, except hospitals and cellphone towers.

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