NEW DELHI (AP) — India's capital is engulfed in a thick haze, plummeting air quality levels to "severe" category after a brief respite.

The state-run Central Pollution Control Board's air quality index for Delhi on Tuesday crossed 400, about eight times the recommended maximum.

The pollution crisis affecting 20 million residents is piling public pressure on the government to tackle the root causes of the persistent haze.

Air pollution in Delhi and northern Indian states peaks in the winter due to farm fires and changes in wind direction.

World Health Organization data released last year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.

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