Air Pollution, a major health hazard for the people of the national capital. Despite of several rise and fall in Air Quality Index (AQI), the condition is still critical. Delhiites have no other option than to wear Anti-pollution mask while going outside. SAFAR, the short form of System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (Jointly run by India Meteorology Department and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras) has warned the people living in Delhi-NCR to avoid heavy outdoor physical activities and suggested to exercise inside their house. Currently, the average level of air pollution in Delhi is almost 3-4 times of the permissible limits.
The major air pollutants in Delhi’s sky are PM2.5, PM10 particulate matter followed by Carbon monoxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Sulphur dioxide gas. These pollutants when go into the lungs causes severe health hazards and decreases human life expectancy.
Principal Culprits behind Delhi’s Poor Air Quality
One cause is never enough to create such a Menace, faced by people of Delhi-NCR. Nomatter, governments of all the neighbouring states of the national capital are fighting each other just to prove that their state is not responsible for Delhi’s plight.
Some major causes of Air Pollution in Delhi are:-
1. Industrial Pollution
Toxic emissions from large factories and industries in NCR contribute a significant part in polluting Delhi’s Air. The massive increase in the level of SO2 and NOx gases is due to thermal power plants, industrial clusters, diesel generators.
Researchers say that the Delhi Government has no sustainable long term plan for curbing the Industrial outflow which is choking the breath of residential societies. Also, we should thank the corrupt government officials and politicians for allowing many small & medium illegal industries to operate in residential areas without any worry.
2. Vehicular Pollution
No doubt, govt. has banned heavy trucks from entering Delhi’s border in the day time, the petrol & diesel vehicles still create a substantial problem. Privately owned two-wheelers and four-wheelers are not far behind in the race. “Bikes & Scooters put up about 32% and Private Cars donate 22% to the transport pollution” according to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-profit public interest research organisation. Some research presents that Delhi is one of the top city to source the vehicular pollution in India.
3. Stubble Burning
Approximately 35 million tonnes of rice stubble is burnt by farmers in Punjab, Haryana & UP contributing upto 25 percent of the Delhi Air Pollution. Farmers do this to save their time, money and in order to prepare the field for next sowing. Ironically, the chief ministers of 3 neighbouring states are not ready to accept that the crop burning is responsible for a large chunk of major air pollutants in Delhi.
Latest study done by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), clearly shows, India is suffering from an economic loss of USD 30 billion every year due to crop residue burning.
4. Overpopulation in the City
“Delhi hai Dilwaalo ki” every year countless heads from every part of India come to the national capital in search of their dreams and aspiration. Due to this, an intense pressure comes on the available resources and demand is growing at a very high speed. Inflated demand for Infrastructure, Food, Healthcare, Transportation, Accommodation and Education leads to hazardous Air Pollution. More people will require more roads, vehicles and constructions.
Deforestation is quite common in Delhi, done in order to satisfy the urban greed of crowd in the city. A report prepared by the United Nations predicts that Delhi could become the most populous city in the world by 2028.
5. Open Waste Burning
Despite of the ban imposed by the Delhi Government, you can easily spot many foolish fellows burning plastics, dry leaves, tyres and other wastes openly on the road. At many occasions, National Green Tribunal has imposed fines for burning open waste, but Delhites are not ready to change their mind. Some experts say that waste burning accounts for about 29% of total air pollution causes.
Issue of open waste burning is largely noticed in industrial areas and big dumpyards which results in adding a high amount of toxic pollutants in capital’s air.
6. Large Scale Construction
With the rapid growth of the Industrial Sector in Delhi NCR, demand for big corporate houses, residential apartments, thick concrete road, new metro stations are rising like mercury. Unregulated construction projects, poor building standards, brick & concrete producing factories are the main villains in this story.
Emission at construction sites is comprised of soot, loose soil, cement, sand, sawdust etc. These pollutants are capable enough to damage your lungs severely.
Time to time, when air quality in Delhi deteriorates and jumps into the severe level, government is imposing a ban on construction activities for some days, putting them on halt. But as of now, that doesn’t seem to solve the breathing trouble.
7. Ignorance of Public
This is the concern of mentality and realisation of self-responsibility. Today, we Delhiites think, for every fucking shit happening in the city, the government should do something, we are so busy in our personal lives. But we forget one thing, this is our own city, nobody else will take its responsibility.
Many reputed researchers and environmentalists have written lots of Articles on air pollution in Delhi. Also, the notion of Delhi’s Air Pollution is discussed in every school in the form of Essays, Debates, Quiz. But still, people are not taking the issue as serious as they should take.
We are throwing garbage on the road, burning the wastes, travel in our private car, use air conditioner all the time, burn crackers and what not. We are just not ready to compromise with comfort & luxury, no matter what impact it creates on the environment.
Diseases Caused by Air Pollution
Many people are suffering from distinct respiratory and cardiovascular diseases due to toxic air pollution. The effect of poor air quality can also be seen on common people in the form of throat infection, irritation in eyes, headache, cough, fatigue, Shortness of breath etc. A recent study shows that apart from lungs and cardiovascular diseases, air pollution leads to several other critical health issues namely psychological disorders, fertility problem, weaken immunity, low bone density & fracture.
Serious diseases caused by Air Pollution in Delhi NCR:
- Lung Cancer
- Neurobehavioral disorders
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease –COPD