New Delhi, Nov 3|| Staff Reporter Snigdha Maurya
New Delhi is one the world’s most polluted capital city in the world, according to a Swiss-based group that gathers air-quality data globally. India was also home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, IQ AirVisual said in the study which focused on the amount of PM2
Delhi, India’s capital city known for its developed and fast lifestyle is the most concerned city for the health of its people. The monsoon coming to an end brings a lot of stress on the government and people of Delhi.
Since the past few years, it is in news specifically during this time and for a specific reason, when the cold breeze starts flowing indicating the onset of winter, among all the metropolitans, Delhi is known for carrying the worst air also known as the world’s most polluted capital city.
Over the years air pollution has become a part of Delhi and the people can be seen wearing a mask from pre covid because of the presence of particulate matter in a highly concentrated state. But why the measures are taken especially during the October-December quarter, what makes Delhi’s air so worst? Let’s take a brief look but in a much simpler way and try not to bring it on anyone making it the responsibility of just one person; we should help the nature since Delhi need us.
In its simplest form air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air that is harmful to human health and the planet as a whole. If one can recall, on 25th November 2019 Supreme court made a statement on Delhi’s pollution saying “Delhi has become worse then narak(hell)”. From reports of 2018 of the ministry of earth sciences, vehicle emissions contribute 41%, dust 21.5% and 18% credit goes to industries. The fact and data presented are alarming. Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) during January to September is generally moderate (i.e., 101-200) level, and then it drastically deteriorates to very poor (301-400) then severe (401-500) or hazardous (500+) levels in October-December.
In 2017 levels of particulate matter 2.5 and particulate matter 10 which should be between 60-100 hit the 999 micrograms per cubic meters. The average AQI in Beijing for the same period was 95. Delhi’s air was recorded to be twice as bad as Beijing’s air.
The situation is made worst directly by stubble burning, road dust, vehicle pollution and cold weather. Major causes are lack of active monitoring and reaction by authority, overpopulation, lack of political priority, heavy metal-rich firecrackers, etc.
All the data that is present is not to be neglected, as already mentioned Delhites are in an alarming state, these levels of pollution have direct effects on children and adults as well, so who is the spared? Nowhere but 2.2 million children in Delhi have irreversible lung damage, lower immune system, increased cancer risk, epilepsy, diabetes, etc. Children are worst affected as they are in their growth and developing state having a higher breathing rate. Adults are noted to be suffering from reduced lung capacity, headache, sore throat, cough, fatigue, lung cancer and early death. In the present ongoing covid-19 pandemic if the situation is not controlled then the particulate matter (<=pp10), the aerosol would work as virus carriers or host in the rapid spread of the pandemic.
Arvind Kejriwal lead present government is actively working in controlling the pollution and their measures had been effective, such as diesel generators are banned for a specific time, launched an app for active monitoring, vacuum cleaning of roads, water sprinkling on roads, fast adoption of electronic vehicles encouraged by providing subsidy, older vehicles or below BS6 engines are being banned. This year management should be different and quick from past because of the week lungs of covid affected patients making it hard for them to cope up the population. These measures can help Delhi for October-December period but not in a long run and keeping this in mind there are some measures that are realized for the long term such as a ban on crackers by the supreme court, the extremely polluting power plant of Badarpur was shut down permanently, recently environment ministry has performed a commission for air quality management in the national capital region and adjoining area ordinance.
All the measures are effective but in the present time of the endemic Delhi’s people should co-operate the government in maintaining a healthy environment for them and upcoming generation and no gift can be better than an environment where people can sustain a healthy and happy life.
Top 8 main causes for air pollution in Delhi
- National capital shares its border with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. One of the main reasons for increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in these states. Farmers burn rice stubbles in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It is estimated that approximately 35 million tonnes of the crop are set afire by these states. The wind carries all the pollutants and dust particles, which have got locked in the air.
- 2. Pollution caused by traffic menace in Delhi is another reason contributing to this air pollution and smog. The air quality index has reached ‘severe’ levels. Vehicular emission is increasing the hazardous effects of air pollution and smog. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have declared vehicular emission as a major contributor to Delhi’s increasing air pollution.
- 3. As the winter season sets in, dust particles and pollutants in the air become unable to move. Due to stagnant winds, these pollutants get locked in the air and affect weather conditions, resulting in smog.
- 4. Another reason for air-pollution is over-population in the capital. Over-population only adds up to the various types of pollution, whether it is air pollution or noise pollution.
- Investing less in public infrastructure is another reason of air pollution. In India, investment in public transport and infrastructure is low which leads to congested roads, and hence air pollution.
- Large scale construction in Delhi-NCR is another culprit that is increasing dust and pollution in the air. Considering the dipping air quality, a number of construction sites have stalled work, as directed by the Delhi Government.
- Industrial pollution and garbage dumps are also increasing air pollution and building-up smog in the air.
- Despite the ban on cracker sales, firecrackers were a common sight this Diwali. It may not be the top reason for this smog, but it definitely contributed to its build u