Indian Capital Covered In Toxic Smog

Air pollution readings reached off-the-charts levels in New Delhi.

Indian Capital Covered In Toxic Smog
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The Indian capital of New Delhi is covered in a thick blanket of toxic smog.

Air pollution readings in the city reached hazardous levels after the Hindu festival of Diwali. Against government restrictions, residents in the city lit firecrackers to celebrate.

On Thursday, the Air Quality Index spiked to almost 700, compared to 200 the previous day. A level of 200 is considered "unhealthy," and 700 is "beyond the index" — or literally off the chart.

New Delhi residents are used to breathing in polluted air. India ranks as one of the top 10 worst countries for air quality.

The World Health Organization warns breathing in ambient air pollution has been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and death.

Time reports authorities were working to reduce air pollution by banning certain diesel vehicles. Farmers have also been banned from crop burning. And officials have reportedly sprinkled water in neighborhoods to try to bring down smog levels.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN