The toxic smog that has covered parts of Pakistan for weeks has exposed official torpor over rampant pollution that has killed thousands more people than have died in years of militancy.
Angry parents accused Delhi authorities on Monday of "playing with children's health" as schools reopened despite a fresh surge in pollution to emergency levels.
In the emergency ward of a Delhi hospital, men and women gasp for breath as they wait to be treated for symptoms triggered by the choking blanket of smog that descended on the Indian capital this week.
As thick smog crept over India's capital this past week and smudged landmarks from view, Nikunj Pandey could feel his eyes and throat burning.
It is the most popular weedkiller in the world but concerns about the toxicity of glyphosate have led to growing demands for restrictions.
Schools closed across large swathes of north India on Thursday as pollution hit hazardous levels for the third day, with growing calls for urgent government action to tackle what doctors are calling a public health emergency.
With a deadline just weeks away, the European Union failed Thursday to break a hardening stalemate on whether to renew the licence for the widely-used weedkiller glyphosate, which critics fear causes cancer.
Rickshaw driver Sanjay can only afford a handkerchief to shield his face from the smog-filled streets of Delhi, even as many residents rush to buy protective masks to combat the toxic menace.
Delhi authorities ordered all schools to shut on Wednesday after choking smog descended on north India and Pakistan, with pollution levels in the city 40 times the World Health Organization's safe limit.
A public health emergency was declared as choking smog blanketed New Delhi on Tuesday, with authorities ordering the temporary closure of all primary schools in the world's most polluted capital city.