Delhi – The most polluted city in the World!
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!
10 Interesting 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 air pollution in 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.
5. 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. Which 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 concentration 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.
So what can be done?
There’s only one answer – constant monitoring of human activities. Active measures such as the ones mentioned below must be taken, and taken seriously, if there’s ever any hope of salvation for Delhi –
4 Ways 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.