A sea of fans with lights held aloft face a stage. Above them a dark figure hovers, silhouetted in the glow of the light. Is it a man? A ghost? No, says Bryan Adams, it is his shadow, floating over fans who attended a concert in New Delhi.
“In this photo, if you look carefully you can see my shadow silhouetted in the dust and smoke of the venue over the audience. I’ve never seen that before. Magical India. Namaste,” Adams wrote on Instagram, sharing an image of a concert at Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon, south-west of Delhi.
In fact, as many fans commenting on the post pointed out, the image shows less of India’s “magic” and more of its toxic pollution, with the soft hazy light in the picture being the result of heavy air pollution.
Delhi is one of the worst places in the world for pollution, according to the World Health Organisation.
Several of Adams’ Instagram followers were quick to point out that the Canadian singer was glamourising a serious health issue for the city. “Namaste for the respiratory diseases,” wrote one person.
“Disgusting that India does nothing about their unacceptable levels of pollution. That’s what causes this shadow effect. This isn’t ‘magical’. It’s terrifying,” wrote another.
October is usually the start of Delhi’s traditional “pollution season” as slower winds and cooler temperatures trap pollutants closer to the ground.
However as early as June this year, air quality in the Indian capital was ranked as “very unhealthy”, as government pollution monitors recorded concentrations of 999 – the highest they can measure.