From faraway Bangalore, the envoy from Costa Rica, Mariela Cruz Alvarez, recounted how the last week's spike in pollution, which doctors called a "public health emergency", had taken a toll on her. The diplomat said she had left Delhi after her "lungs collapsed from the heavy pollution" and she was "choking to death".
The deadly smog had taken a toll on health across the city. Hospitals reported a 20 per cent rise in patients complaining of breathing problems. Everywhere in the city, residents complained of watering eyes, headaches and dizziness. Calling the city's air similar to a gas chamber, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had advised residents not to venture out of doors without any pressing need.
"India I love you and I'm here to tell the world you are not alone," Ms Alvarez, an ardent Yoga practitioner who has lived in India for long, wrote. In a Facebook post, she also expressed her reservations.
"I can't believe there are so many up there who choose to look the other way by simply wearing a useless mask or buying filters that can't filter levels higher than 900. I can't believe there are children growing in those levels. I can't believe my own dear friends are carrying on with their Iives as if nothing was happening."
The Delhi government's unpreparedness for the pollution spike - a regular feature of winters - has drawn strictures from the Delhi High Court and the National Green Tribunal.
Pulling up the officials for inaction, the Green Court had accused of "playing with people's life". "Right to life has been infringed with impunity by the authorities and other stakeholders who have been mere spectators to such crisis," the court said.
The High Court said the reduction in life expectancy due to pollution and government inaction on it was nothing less than "genocide" and "murder".
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