Evacuate Delhi immediately: United Airlines stops Newark-Delhi air-service

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It’s a national emergency. New Delhi’s air pollution has reached levels so toxic that United Airlines is canceling flights from Newark to Delhi, India until it improves.

Arvind Kumar, a lung surgeon at a local hospital, told NDTV Media. “As a doctor, I have no problem saying that the situation today is a public health emergency. If you want to protect people, we should be ordering the evacuation of Delhi. Closing down all schools. Closing down all offices.”

Flights between Newark, New Jersey, and New Delhi are canceled until at least Monday after evaluations found the air quality to be around 75 times the World Health Organization’s safety levels. One Delhi official said that the pollution is so bad that the city has turned into a “gas chamber.”

United said the city’s air conditions were severe enough to be considered a natural disaster, and to be avoided like a hurricane or wildfire would be.

Passengers will be given vouchers to switch flights, or given assistance in flying with a different airline.

Delhi’s air quality has worsened drastically in recent weeks in part due to dropping temperatures. Pollutants get trapped near the ground, condensing the particles into a thick smog rather than allowing them to disperse into the atmosphere. Farms in nearby towns have also contributed to the pollution problem, as farmers illegally burn crop residue to clear fields, reports NDTV.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.