Air Pollution in Delhi
What is Air Pollution – Air pollution is nothing but, increase of toxic and harmful material in the air, resulting in contamination of air. These material may be in form of solid, liquid or gaseous substances and released in air due to various activities by human beings causing an adverse effect to natural life.
Delhi is National Capital of India, an Union Territory, but since few years Capital of India is counted as the most polluted state in the country.
Delhi is a city which accommodates more than 170 lakhs people. Air pollution has become such a big issue in the city that government had to shut down schools and colleges due to fear of certain respiratory diseases. People were warned to not to step out of their houses for certain days.
There have been reports of high number of deaths due to the such a poor quality of air. Adding to this the changing whether conditions make it even worse by locking the pollutants in the air. People are depending on air purifying masks and machines to consume the most basic Oxygen.
Delhi’s air pollution are headlines every winter. This is mainly due to air pollutants carried from other states like Punjab and Haryana, where burning of crops is carried out.
Although many steps have been taken to solve this problem of pollution. It is just prohibiting certain activities which lead to air pollution, depending on the circumstances at that moment of time. Therefore giving a temporary solution, but this issue need a permanent solution to limit the bad quality of air enter into the atmosphere.
This requires a constant monitoring and preventive steps to minimize the dangerous pollution levels.
There are many causes which contribute to such a massive pollution which results in serious health hazards and even death of human beings and depletion of other natural life.
Several studies have concluded that petrol, diesel, burning coal, industrial waste, burning firecrackers etc contribute highly to pollution.
Causes of Air Pollution in Delhi
There are many reasons for such a massive air pollution in Delhi. These are:
- One of the main reason is crop burning. The neighbouring states Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, burn the rice subtle every year after harvest. The smoke from the burning is directed towards Delhi. All the pollutants get locked in the atmosphere which is already polluted.
The farmers do this to reduce cost and time as the burning of crops after the harvest can be done in no time and the field can be made ready for the next harvest easily. This is done in the month of October and November and by the time winter comes the pollutants get trapped in the wet and cold air leading to development of smog.
The agricultural department has laid a ban on this practice but some farmers still continue with this practice.
- Delhi being one of the major cities is highly populated with number large number vehicles, which cause traffic and pollution. Vehicle emissions contribute a huge amount of pollution. This is because of burning of diesel and petrol and lack of green cover around the city.
Past few years there have been tremendous increase in number of vehicles causing traffic and air pollution. This also happens due lack of public transport, public is forced to get their own vehicles and there is no regulation on the pollution caused by these vehicles.
- As said earlier Delhi is becoming over populated day by day, construction of new buildings. The cement, wood dust and other dust particles that arise from construction sites spread allover and mix in air as small particles.
To give space to more construction sites, trees are being chopped off, which play a major role in controlling pollution. Over population also leads to more garbage dumping and to add to it these garbage dumps are being burned where ever possible, leading to more smoke in the air.
4) Industrial pollution is also one of the culprit, which contributed in Air Pollution in Delhi. Factories in and out of city area release very harmful and toxic chemicals in air and nearby water bodies. According to sources, Power plants and the famous Badrapur thermal Power Station contribute around 80% to 90% of pollution.
- Diwali which comes at the start of winter, at the same time when crops are being burned, cause tremendous amount of smoke. With the burning of fire crackers, wood and crops simultaneously cause heavy smog and suffocating environment. The cold and damp weather add fuel to fire to the situation making it more worse.
Effects of Air Pollution in Delhi
Air pollution leads to many health problems, the lack of pure air to breathe is a major concern in the present era. Indian Medical Association has warned public to retrain themselves form going out and declared a “Public Health Emergency” in Delhi, couple of years back. People started wearing masks to protect themselves from inhaling hazardous gases present in the air.
There are many health risks associated with air pollution, such as:
⦁Respiratory problems, like dry cough, wheezing, sinusitis, sore throat, breathlessness etc.
⦁Threat to lung functioning, reduced lung capacity, lung cancer.
⦁Head aches, eye irritation.
⦁Heart diseases. Certain gasses prevent oxygen in blood and this can lead to reduction in supply of oxygen to heart, Asthama.
⦁Premature birth or birth defects in certain cases.
Preventive Measures to Stop the Effect of Pollution
Many preventive measures have been introduced by government to protect oneself from these harmful effects. One should avoid going for walking or jogging early in the morning, try not to smoke cigarettes or burn anything, use a mask as much as possible to prevent you from inhaling the hazardous gasses, plant as much as tress and plants such as aloe Vera, ivy etc.
Consume fruits rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, drink lots of water. Install best air purifiers at home or air purifiers at office, try car pool if possible to reduce traffic and vehicle pollution and last but not the least seek medical help immediately if you notice any of the problems.
Pollution Level in Delhi
The Air Quality Index(AQI) level at 100 is considered as normal, but in Delhi the AQI is 267, which is considered as unhealthy and fall under “poor” range .
The smog effects the visibility of vehicles causing accidents at highways, cancellation of flights and trains. Substances such as copper, magnesium, Nickel, Zinc form major sources of particles polluting the air.
The poisonous particulate matter (PM 25) is less than 2.5 microns, which can easily go into the lungs of an individual. Medical experts say the levels of pollution in the city is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes in a day.
The air quality in Delhi has deteriorated to such a level that it is hazardous to health.
Air Pollution in Delhi Statistics
According to Environment pollution(Prevention and control) Authority(EPCA) of 2017-18, the air quality showed the signs of improvement, but it is not close to safe yet.
In Nov 2018, the air quality was at its worst, touching the “Severe plus emergency”. The AQI levels reached above 300.
Experts say if this continues, Delhi will be the worst city and most polluted city in the world. Air quality index is generally observed moderate between January to September, then it drastically changes to Poor/severe or even hazardous in the months of October to December and this is mainly because of burning of crops, firecrackers and cold and damp weather.
According to sources 36% of Delhi’s pollution comes form the city itself, 34% from NCR area and remaining from neighbouring states or even international borders.
Control Measures to Reduce Air Pollution in Delhi
While the government is taking many steps to control the pollution and its effects. These steps are to be taken urgently to reduce the pollution, as it is causing serious health effects to citizens and all natural life.
Here are the steps taken by the authorities to solve the situation:
- The first and foremost step is to plant more trees. The fresh can help in reduce the pollution and emit healthy gasses.
- Pollution check of all the vehicles by transport department, and encouraging fuel efficient cars.
- Encourage car pool or public transport to help reduce flow of more vehicles on roads. Citizens should take initiative for car polling with their friends and family. This will also help in traffic control. To discourage public from using their own vehicles authorities have decided to raise the parking fees.
- Burning of any garbage or leaves or wood is being prohibited. Ban on Fire crackers is being implemented on the day of Diwali.
- Halt on all the construction activities. This will also mean ban on all stone crushers, diesel generator sets, to prevent the dust coming from the activities.
- Mechanical sweepers and water sprinklers have been introduced, to clean the roads.
- 7) Air purifiers in offices are being installed even home owners are encouraged to install purifiers in their homes to cope up with the bad air.
- Long term measures such as ban on burning and sale of firecrackers completely. The Badrapur thermal Power plant to be shut down as soon as possible, which causes lot of pollution by emitting hazardous gasses.
Air Pollution and Water Pollution are a major rising concern in Delhi and many parts of India. In the recent years, Delhi has suffered the most due to air pollution.
Many kids and adults had to face serious health issues due to air pollution and bad quality of air. There have been reports of deaths too. Solving this situation is both in the hands of government as well as public.
If this situation continues it is going to lead to many health hazards among all ages including pregnant women and unborn kids. Many dangerous gasses such as hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur are being released.
The quality of air in Delhi was so bad that it resulted in cancellation of cricket test match, this was first time in Indian history where a match was cancelled due to pollution as the players were not able to stand in the polluted air in the stadium, making it even difficult to breathe.
Despite many measures by government, the air quality is not improving in any manner rather it deteriorates every season. This is due to public and relevant authorities are not co-operating.
The burning of crops happens every year despite many restrictions, as the farmers feel it is the cheap way to destroy the residue. They should be given proper guidance and other steps to tackle this.
Although burning of crops is common in may states but Delhi has been affected the most due the others factors and as the pollution was already high in the state moreover, this happens at the start of winter or during winter making it more worse.
Government should also take measures to control number of industries around the city limits and also strict laws should be made to control pollution.
The pollution or smog levels must be understood and solved for coming years, so that this situation does not repeat again. Educating public about pollution and steps to tackle would help in reducing the pollution to a great extend.