New Delhi, the capital of India is on its way to becoming the world capital of air pollution. After a week of festival of lights, The Diwali, and the smoke from the stubble burning from the agricultural states surrounding the region have turned the city into a smoking zone.
One of the most overwhelming pollutions in the modern world has confined the city in the smoke and has brought the city in the middle of a huge health emergency that led to close down schools, factories and diverted more than 30 flights due to poor visibility.
Today, New Delhi is a city taken by smoke.
In the smoke
Usually, the levels of fine particles in the air (called PM 2.5) should not be above 20. In fact, according to the government environmental monitoring agency of India, if these indexes exceeded 400 there was “a certain risk for people with respiratory diseases that can also affect even people with healthy lungs.” Exceeding 500 would be a “severe risk.”
Well, the air quality indexes are at 900. That means that even if it starts to rain, as the Indian Meteorological Agency has pointed out, it will take almost all week for the levels to reach something slightly similar to normal.
More than 40 million people live in the affected area. Therefore, the country’s health ministry has ordered curbing economic activity, restricting traffic and recommending residents to “avoid physical outdoor activities, especially during the morning and evening hours.” However, the problem is far from being solved.
Above all, because it comes from far behind. Last year, a team from the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago in India conducted an investigation to examine what the actual pollution was in domestic environments in that same region of the country. The results were discouraging: in the houses, the air was as polluted as it was outside.
In fact, this year, a survey of 17,000 people in the Delhi region showed that 40% of the inhabitants would want to leave the city because of the alarming problems of air pollution and, above all, because of the government’s failure to control it.