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New Delhi Economy Set to Splutter Under Toxic Smog

November 7, 2016

Delhi/NCR Pollution: City Remains Engulfed In Thick SmogDelhi/NCR Pollution: City Remains Engulfed In Thick Smog
NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 7: Schhol going 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. Mohd Zakir—Hindustan Times via Getty Images

New Delhi’s economy may start to splutter under the haze that has choked India’s capital since millions of Diwali celebrants set of fireworks on October 30.

A survey of 150 companies, released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (Assocham) on Monday, found that 5% to 10% of employees had taken time off work with respiratory problems caused by the smog.

In addition to worker health, pollution could impact construction and real estate, dent New Delhi’s tourism industry, and provoke renewed calls for a ban on diesel cars in the Asia’s third largest auto-market, Bloomberg reports.

Assocham director general D.S. Rawat told Bloomberg, “Air pollution related issues might hurt Brand India.”

With New Delhi now the world’s most polluted city, the city’s government has announced school closures, put the brakes on construction and demolition, and proposed the temporary shut down of a nearby coal-fired power plant. But tackling complex issues such as smog—which has multiple causes and crosses political jurisdictions—is difficult in India’s convoluted democracy.

For more on pollution in India, watch Fortune’s video:

The World Bank calculates that air pollution—which has spiked as developing countries rapidly urbanize—now costs the world more than $5 trillion in welfare losses, according to figures cited by Bloomberg. The cost of air pollution in South Asia equates to about 7.4% of the regional gross domestic product.

Some businesses, however, are carving a niche through the smog: air purifiers, air-filtering face masks, and bottled air are doing a roaring trade.