New Delhi, Nov. 8 -- There was a spike in air pollution levels in eastern and southern India on Thursday with the Air Quality Index (AQI) in some parts of Chennai touching 300 over the past 24 hours. Officials said that this was primarily because winds were carrying pollutants from the northern plains towards the Bay of Bengal and local poor dispersal of pollutants.

A Central Pollution Control Board official, who did not want to be named, said that north-westerly winds have blown the smoke created because of stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana from the northern plains because of a developing cyclonic depression over the Bay of Bengal.

Pollution spikes are common in the first half of November in northern India as farm fires peak in Punja...