Air pollution in New Delhi has reached dangerous levels.
The situation is so bad, the chief minister called the smoke-clogged streets of India's capital a 'gas chamber,' and the World Health Organization says it's nearly 30 times the level considered safe. Breathing air in New Delhi this week is the equivalent of smoking a couple packs of cigarettes a day.
Daily life has already been drastically affected. Thousands of schools have closed, a half-marathon was canceled, and United Airlines decided not to fly any more planes into the city until conditions improved.
Smog is a familiar sight during winter in Northern India, and last year saw a record-breaking smoke cloud envelop the city, but this year the pollution is worse than ever. Dust and burning crops, as well as factory and vehicle emissions are contributing to toxic air.
But the situation is far more dire than a seasonal smog. According to a recent report in the Lancet medical journal, 2.5 million deaths in India each year can be attributed to pollution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.