ENVIRONMENTDelhi Air Pollution Getting Worse Than Ever

Maureen SantosJanuary 5, 20192245 min

India’s capital is getting enveloped in smog with poor quality air index exceeding the suggested level of the US government.

The Central Pollution Control Board’s air quality index reveals that the Delhi’s concentration of toxic particulate matter, PM 2.5, goes up from 430 to 440 on Wednesday. The level is nearly 12 times that the US government recommends which is 35.

In some parts of Delhi, the pollution level even reached 500 which caused poor visibility in some districts. On December 23, 2018, the level already reached 450.

The extreme decline in temperature, as well as wind speed added to the vehicle and industrial emissions, made the pollution worse. Moreover, clouds of dust from building sites, and fumes from burning wastes contributed to the increased greenhouse effect of northern India which includes Delhi with a population of over than 20 million residents.

Wheat planting, near Sangrur, SE Punjab, India. Neil Palmer (CIAT)/WikimediaCommons

The frigid weather compelled some people especially the homeless, to make small fires to keep them cozy and warm. However, the smoke from the fire added to the smog.

Greenpeace senior campaigner, Sunil Dahiya said that climatic conditions have added to the situation. It should also be admitted that majority of the measures announced last year have failed unsatisfactorily. She added that if a nation misses to provide clean air to its people, the WHO and Lancet will discuss about it.

For two consecutive months – October and November – the pollution has peaked. At the same time, the Indian government implemented some actions to control pollution. These cover brief sanction on construction activities, incinerating wastes and shutdown on pollution-causing industrial plants, specifically coal-fired power stations.

Burning of rice residues after harvest, to quickly prepare the land for wheat planting, around Sangrur, SE Punjab, India. Neil Palmer (CIAT)/WikimediaCommons

The procedures, however, were not sufficient enough and badly enforced. This is all due to the scarceness of resources as well as political determination.

“India’s smog problem is due, in part, to the cooler temperatures recently, the lack of big weather systems to move air pollutants around and an ongoing drought across much of the country. Satellite images show that smog has been present for at least the last 30 days in India’s north, including New Delhi, although some days are worse than others,” weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles noted.

According to the World Health Organization’s this year report, India has 14 cities considered to be the most polluted in the whole world with Delhi as the sixth. Last year, the contaminated air recorded 1.24 million cause of deaths or 12.5% of total deaths, as revealed by a study published in Lancet Planetary Health this month.


Maureen Santos

She lets everyone become aware of what is happening to our beloved planet Earth and its inhabitants. She can take you beyond the space and find out how neighbor planets are doing. Moreover, she would open your eyes to the things what makes the Earth suffer including the living species and allow you to decide what you can do to help save the planet and the future generation.

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