Message for U.S. Citizens: Air Quality Alert (November 12, 2017)

The New Delhi Embassy air monitor Air Quality Index (AQI) reading has been at consistently high levels for the last week.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers AQI levels above 500 to be “Beyond the Index” or very hazardous.  The EPA recommends that, at AQI levels above 500, everyone should avoid all physical activities outdoors.

In accordance with EPA recommendations, we recommend that community members consider taking the following actions during periods of prolonged elevated AQI levels:

  • Remain indoors and keep all windows and doors closed tightly.
  • Consider using air filters and check regularly to see if they need to be replaced, replace if necessary, and run continuously on the highest setting.
  • Limit any indoor activity that may increase indoor air pollution such as vacuuming, burning candles, smoking, etc.
  • When it is necessary for you to go outside, do so only for short periods, and consider utilizing a well-fitting disposable respirator with N-95 or higher certification.  Avoid all outdoor strenuous physical activities.
  • Monitor AQI numbers before planning any outdoor activity.  The Embassy AQI website can be accessed here:

U.S. citizens traveling to or living in India may wish to consult their doctor prior to traveling to or living in areas in India with significant air pollution.  For further information please visit the following website:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and India Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General Chennai in India located at 220 Anna Salai, Chennai, India at +91-44-2857-4000 from 8:00 a.m.. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +91-44-2857-4000.

Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).