Delhi Pollution:The way forward

The capital of the Republic of India has been in the news lately, and not for a good reason either. India is a populated country, the second most populated in the world, in fact. Thus, Delhi being the capital is overcrowded, with both people as well as industries. While on one hand the industrial growth is good for the economy, the same cannot be said for the environment. In recent times, it has come to light that the air pollution in Delhi is dangerously high – it is in fact the most polluted city in the world! According to a survey of WHO among the 1600 major cities of the World Delhi is the worst polluted City. Gwallior and Raipur are more polluted then Delhi,but these two cities are small cities.

Facts about the Air Pollution in Delhi

  1. The air pollution in Delhi is primarily caused due to industrial waste and vehicles. Around 80,000 trucks ply the roads of Delhi, most of them old trucks burning diesel and kerosene. These, added to the power plants that are located within city limits are the major causes of remitting toxic substance polluting the air of Delhi.
    2. The dreamy looking fog around Delhi is actually a blend of toxic gases with a high concentration of nanoparticles, which are responsible for respiratory health problems. And it only gets worse. Apart from the visible smog, there are several other toxic gases in the air that are completely invisible to us!
    3. Spring brings on clearer looking air, but is actually the time when sunlight reacts with nitrogen dioxide and VOCs to create ground level ozone, exposure to which is equivalent to rubbing sand paper on the insides of our lungs.
    4. A busy road on Delhi can now be equated to Hitler’s gas chambers. So high are the levels of VOCs, Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and ground level ozone when one is on the roads of Delhi! And being in a closed vehicle isn’t any significant measure of safety either.
  2. As days go by, the pollution seems normal to us. The human body’s tendency to numb out irritating smells causes our ability to perceive pollution to diminish day by day.
    6. So bad is the air in Delhi that living in Delhi is said to be equal to smoking twenty plus cigarettes every single day.
    7. The pollutants in Delhi are evolving such that the human body can no longer filter out these harmful, carcinogenic pollutants. Called smart pollutants, pollutants like the PM 10 or PM 2.5 , contain particles that are less than 10 and 2.5 microns in size respectively. A human hair strand has a width of around 70 microns. This means that these pollutants are too small for our bodies to filter out, granting them easy access to our lungs, causing severe respiratory problems.
    Records show that the concentrations of PM 10 and PM 2.5 in Delhi are at 283 and 517 micrograms per cubic metre, which is way beyond the acceptable standards of 60 and 100 respectively.
    8. At this point, merely planting more trees is going to be virtually ineffective against the pollution problems of Delhi. The pollution in Delhi is too thick to be dissolved by just planting trees and going our merry ways.
    9. Pollution in Delhi claims the lives of more than 10000 people every year. And these numbers are only getting higher. Winter is especially bad in Delhi, and shows an increase in pollution induced morbidity.
    10. Post Diwali 2016, the pollution in Delhi has reached alarming levels, and people are being advised not to step outside due to the severity of the pollution levels. Elders and children suffer all the more in such a situation.

Toxic air in India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year; it is the fifth largest killer in India.According to the WHO. In Delhi, poor quality air damages irreversibly the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all children.

Levels of PM2.5 and PM 10 particulate matter hit 999 micro grams per cubic meter, while the safe limits for those pollutants are 60 and 100 respectively.

The Badarpur Power  Plant, a coal-fired power plant built in 1973, is another major source of air pollution in Delhi. Despite producing less than 8% of the city’s electric power, it produces 80 to 90% of the particulate mater pollution from the electric power sector in Delhi. During the Great Smog  in November 2016, the Badarpur Power Plant was temporarily shut down to alleviate the acute air pollution, but was allowed to restart on February 1, 2017.

Although Delhi is kerosene free and 90% of the households use LPG for cooking, the remaining 10% uses wood, crop residue, cow dung, and coal for cooking.(Census-India, 2012)

It is a man made disaster

Lack of forward vision made this beautiful city a toxic gas chamber.Delhi is the Administrative capital of India,it was a bad dream to develop industrial activities in and around Delhi.In 1971 Govt established DCSSI incorporated under ROC. This agency started encouraging industrial activities around Delhi. Currently 46 Industrial Estate sponsored by Government, is exist in Delhi.

Grooming Delhi as an industrial hub suddenly changed the ecosystem of Delhi.The population of the city multiplied every year and the pressure on the common facilities increased.Over population lead to increase in the number of vehicle, traffic conjection,scarcity in living space,increase of slums,increase of human waste.The industries around Delhi basically electronic,plastic and fiber based.The waste of the said industries are the dreadliest waste.

The odd and even formula is not going to solve the alarming position of Delhi.Government need to take drastic step on priority towards the following points

 1.To reduce the population of Delhi by shifting unnecessary private establishments to nearby                   suitable places.

 2.To shot down all industries and to shift them to favorable places by developing an                                     entrepreneur support system,so that business,livelihood and employment would be remain                   intact.

 3.To reduce the vehicle population of Delhi with multiple mechanism.

4.To strengthen the public transportation system and to restrict entry of four wheelers beyond                the entry point of Gudgaon and Gaziabad into New Delhi.

 5.To declare 200 square kilometer radios around Delhi as No Industry Zone.

 6.To exclude Delhi from any major industrial corridor.

Immediate action required to deal with Delhi’s Air Pollution

  1. Use of carpooling and public transport.The lesser the vehicles on the road, lesser the pollution.
    2. Stopping the consumption of disposable items. Plastic bottles and bags, which cannot be safely recycled only add to the pollution problems, and hence they should be actively avoided.
    3. Go green. Combined with other measures to reduce pollution, planting more trees will certainly help alleviate Delhi’s pollution problems.
    4. No more willful polluting, by bursting crackers or burning stuff. At this point, bursting crackers amounts to willfully creating respiratory problems for the city of Delhi by introducing more noxious gases into the air.



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