Air pollution in Delhi: Opinions of Authorities and Experts
By Zeba Tarannum
How polluted is Delhi?
Breathing in Delhi’s air and smoking 25 cigarettes a day have the same effect on the lungs. The air of India’s capital is so polluted that it is 20 times worse than the World Health Organization’s minimum hazardous air quality. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India, in terms of air quality, the highest level of air pollution is 500. Delhi’s air never falls below 450 by that level and often touches 500.
Local reasons for pollution
In addition to burning nearby Haryana and Punjab’s agricultural waste, excessive traffic has made it ineligible to breathe in Delhi’s air. Moreover, due to Delhi’s colder weather than in any other city of India, the air becomes heavier, and various pollutant particles get stuck in the air.
Prarthana Borah, Chief of India region of Clean Air Asia, told Deutsche Welle that Delhi’s problem is getting severe due to its location. Polluted air has no place to escape as there are no reservoirs nearby, and the climate type is cold and dry. Also, high-velocity winds often bring extra dust with them, which makes the situation worse.
Anumita Roychowdhury, Director of the Center for Science and Environment, said, ‘Every winter we see an increase of respiratory and heart disease-related patients in the emergency departments of various hospitals. Breathing in polluted air for a long time prevents the development of normal health. At present, one out of every three children in Delhi suffers from lung damage. Many children’s lungs do not grow fully and also bleeds there.’
Covid-19, festival and pollution
Inferior air quality is crippling the healthy lungs of Delhi’s residents. Also, the uncontrolled use of fireworks during the festive season declines its value from November every year. Many people think the incapable lungs cannot prevent the infection of Covid-19. As a result, the number of daily infected in Delhi is increasing rapidly. On Monday, November 09, 2020, new 7,745 persons were infected in Delhi in a single day.
Opinions of the authorities
Although legal directives were issued in 2019 to reduce agricultural waste burning, it has not been implemented yet. According to various news media, the National Green Tribunal discusses stopping the burning of fireworks in November. Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, has launched the ‘Green App’ to register civil complaints about pollution.
Opinions of the experts
According to Anumita Roychowdhury, Alternative public transportation should be considered immediately in the city; eco-friendly transport like bicycles should be increased. She advised us to be cautious about recycling and to introduce the use of Eco-friendly fuels in the industry. However, Roychowdhury thinks none of this is possible without government activation.