New Delhi under dangerous cloud of smog

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The worst air pollution in New Delhi in nearly 20 years is aggravated by smoke from burning crop residue in surrounding states, a practice that's technically illegal.

But traffic pollution is the main culprit, plus fireworks from a recent festival, construction dust and cold weather over the last two weeks.

All pushing polluting air particle levels to up to thirty times the safe levels set by the World Health Organization.

See more of the smog crisis:

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India experiencing worst smog in decades
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India experiencing worst smog in decades

Girls play with a balloon under a flyover amidst the heavy smog in New Delhi, India, November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

Security personnel stand guard in front of the India Gate amidst the heavy smog in New Delhi, India, October 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 6: People doing their routine work in the polluted and foggy morning as smog covers the capital's skyline, on November 6, 2016 in New Delhi, India. New Delhi's air quality has steadily worsened over the years, a consequence of rapid urbanisation that brings pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions. The air quality continued to remain alarming in Delhi-NCR because of calm winds. People living in Delhi-NCR complained about respiratory problems and itching in the eyes due to smog all over the region.

(Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

People walk inside the Ambedkar Memorial Park amidst heavy smog in Lucknow, India, November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Pawan Kumar)

People wear pollution masks during the protest march for 'Your Right To Breathe' at Jantar Mantar, on November 6, 2016 in New Delhi, India. New Delhi's air quality has steadily worsened over the years, a consequence of rapid urbanisation that brings pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions. Several schools cancelled outdoor activity for the students due to the smog.

(Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

People wear pollution masks during the protest march for 'Your Right To Breathe' at Jantar Mantar, on November 6, 2016 in New Delhi, India. New Delhi's air quality has steadily worsened over the years, a consequence of rapid urbanisation that brings pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions. Several schools cancelled outdoor activity for the students due to the smog.

(Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 7: A man walking on railway track as smog engulfed the capital amidst high levels of pollution on November 7, 2016 in New Delhi, India. A million school children were forced to stay at home, some businesses urged employees not to come to work and long queues formed outside shops selling face masks on Monday as New Delhi struggled with its worst pollution for nearly 20 years.

(Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

School students living at Mayur Vihar Phase III studying in Noida waiting for school bus as all school were closed till 10th of November due to heavy smog on November 7, 2016 in New Delhi, India. A million school children were forced to stay at home, some businesses urged employees not to come to work and long queues formed outside shops selling face masks on Monday as New Delhi struggled with its worst pollution for nearly 20 years.

(Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

People walk through haze at an industrial area in Mumbai December 3, 2009. India will not accept a legally binding emission cut nor a peak year of carbon emissions at the global climate talks in Copenhagen, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.

(REUTERS/Arko Datta/INDIA ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)

Traffic drives through smog in Delhi, India November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

A man walks in a pond on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, October 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton)

A Hindu devotee worships the Sun god amidst heavy smog at a pond during Chhath Puja in New Delhi, India November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

School children wear masks to protect themselves from the toxic Delhi - NCR air at Mayur Vihar phase III, on November 7, 2016 in New Delhi, India. A million school children were forced to stay at home, some businesses urged employees not to come to work and long queues formed outside shops selling face masks on Monday as New Delhi struggled with its worst pollution for nearly 20 years.

(Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

An Indian youngster wears a mask as he stands at the India Gate monument whilst heavy smog covers New Delhi on November 7, 2016. Schools in the Indian capital will be closed for the next three days, the Delhi state government said on November 6, as the city struggles with one of the worst spells of air pollution in recent years.

(AJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

People play in a foggy morning at India Gate as smog covers the capital's skyline, on November 6, 2016 in New Delhi, India. New Delhi's air quality has steadily worsened over the years, a consequence of rapid urbanisation that brings pollution from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions. The air quality continued to remain alarming in Delhi-NCR because of calm winds. People living in Delhi-NCR complained about respiratory problems and itching in the eyes due to smog all over the region.

(Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

An Indian man rides a motorbike on a road as heavy smog covers New Delhi on November 7, 2016. Schools in the Indian capital will be closed for the next three days, the Delhi state government said on November 6, as the city struggles with one of the worst spells of air pollution in recent years.

(SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Residents say they can't breathe and everyone's scrambling to buy face masks.

But children are among the worst hit.

One children's hospital reported cases of respiratory spasms, aggravated asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis.

"My eyes burn and I cough that's why my parents have asked me to wear masks as there's pollution," said one child.

On Monday, a million school kids stayed home and up to one in ten employees in the area reported sick.

Local officials are deciding whether to bring back a scheme to reduce traffic.

Meanwhile, India's top court has agreed to hear a petition from an environmentalist to tell the government to take action.

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