All schools in New Delhi have been closed and people have been warned to stay indoors after the city’s pollution problem was declared a health emergency.
The air quality index reading at the US embassy for pollution particles has reached nine times the recommended World Health Organisation leve
Officials in India’s capital have now banned all construction in the region to control dust in the air.
Movement of privately-owned cars has also been restricted with those running on petrol and diesel allowed into New Delhi only on alternate days from 4 to 15 November, depending on whether they have even or odd numbered plates.
Similar restrictions in 2016 reduced air pollution by up to 13%.
Free masks have been handed out to groups of young children while plans to sweep roads mechanically, plant trees and control pollution at 12 hotspots in the city have also been announced.
Air pollution in New Delhi generally peaks around 1 November due to a combination of smog from fireworks set off during a Hindu festival and smoke from the burning of agricultural fields in the neighbouring states blowing in.
The Supreme Court had ordered residents to only use safe and environmentally friendly fireworks for a maximum of two hours during Diwali – however this appears to have been ignored by many.
India is home to many of the world’s most polluted cities.