Delhi’s Bad Air Quality

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Air pollution in India is estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year; it is the fifth largest killer in India. India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthma, according to the WHO.

In Delhi, poor quality of air damages the lungs irreversibly of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all the children. We have witnessed a number of present life scenarios where the air quality became unbearable in Delhi. In November 2017, in an event known as the Great Smog of Delhi, the air pollution spiked far beyond acceptable levels. Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 particulate matter hit 999 micrograms per cubic meter, while the safe limits for those pollutants are 60 and 100 respectively.

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1. Motor vehicle emissions are one of the causes of poor air quality.
2. The Badarpur Thermal Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built in 1973, is another major source of air pollution in Delhi.
3. Despite Delhi being kerosene free and 90% of the households using LPG for cooking, the remaining 10% uses wood, crop residue, cow dung, and coal for cooking. (Census-India, 2012)
4. Agricultural stubble burning also affects Delhi’s air quality when crops are being harvested.
5. Lack of active monitoring and reaction by authorities.
6. Lack of political priority.

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In the current scenario, according to the CPCB official, the drop in air quality is due to change in direction of the wind, which currently flows from areas in Haryana and Punjab where stubble burning is taking place.

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