Delhi’s Air Pollution: The City that Chokes.

In the last one week, we have seen Delhi being engulfed by a blanket of smog. This is a result of the dangerously high levels of air pollution in the city. The pollution has made it difficult for the citizens of Delhi to step out of their houses for their day-to-day activities. According to a report by All India Institute of Medical Sciences, there has been a 20% increase in the number of patients in the hospital because of the pollution. Data also shows that the pollution has corrupted the lungs of Delhi population, so much so that the damage done is irreversible. Breathing Delhi air has been equated to smoking 35 cigarettes in a day!

What has caused this pollution?

There have been many speculations about what may have caused such hazardous levels of pollution in Delhi – levels which the city is experiencing for the first time. Since the thick smog enveloped the city post-Diwali, many have blamed the festival and the relentless bursting of firecrackers during Diwali even after a ban on the selling and purchase of firecrackers. Another cause of the air pollution has been attributed to the burning of crops in the states surrounding Delhi – namely, Punjab and Haryana. The husks of the crops which were earlier disposed off are now being burnt, resulting in the production of large amounts of smoke. Finally, vehicular emissions are also seen to be causing air pollution in Delhi. There has been an immense growth in the vehicular population in Delhi – larger than Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai combined. This has led to an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases.

What can you do to protect yourself from the pollution?

Here’s a list of things you can do to protect yourself from Delhi’s air pollution –

  • Avoid exercising outdoors as much as possible, especially in the mornings.
  • Use N95/99 masks when you go outdoors.
  • Install air purifiers at home. You could also place air purifying plants such as aloe vera and spider plant at home.
  • Try to restrict your children from going outdoors.
  • Drink warm water and take steam every day.