One minute read. Written by Abhhyudit Bhasin, a Grade 8 student
One of the major problems in the world today is pollution. It runs rampant in cities, forests, countries, and deserts across the globe – international modern technological advancements are coming at a great environmental cost.
India is one of the worst in Air Pollution
According to the global EPI (Environmental Performance Index), in 2018, India ranked 177th on the index. The National Capital Region (NCR) has been tagged as one of the most polluted cities in the world. It’s AQI (Air Quality Index) currently is in the hazardous category.
Why is it so bad?
There are many factors – but one of the main causes in the haphazard and unplanned development of industries and factories which are releasing large volumes of toxins into the air and water.
Moreover, the huge rise in vehicular population, coupled with aggravating traffic congestion, air and noise pollution and a large number of diesel vehicles is causing a massive rise in air pollution. Living a day in Delhi is said to be smoking approximately 20 cigarettes a day.
That being said, Diwali celebration, with its crackers etc is also turning out to be one of the major causes of air pollution.
Another major contributor, this time of the year, is paddy burning in Punjab and Haryana. Farmers clear their fields to sow seeds for the next crop cycle and for that they burn paddy – the winds carry that smoke to Delhi. There have been more than 20,000 cases of stubble burning in Punjab alone so far!
What happened after Diwali?
A layer of thick, toxic haze enveloped the capital a day after Diwali. The air quality plummeted to “severe” as a number of revellers brazenly flouted the two- hour time limit for bursting firecrackers set by the Supreme Court of India.
Apprehensions of Delhiites came true as a number of illegal firecrackers were burst, and the many steps that were taken by the government in Delhi, including Arvind Kejriwal’s massive light and sound show did nothing to stop the pollution.
Delhi’s AQI, which is usually “very poor”, stood at 506 the day after Diwali. On Tuesday, AQI read “severe”, touching 740 in the Delhi University area, according to the ministry of earth sciences’ air quality monitor, SAFAR. “Severe” indicates that the air affects healthy people too and not just those with existing diseases.
What’s a good or bad AQI?
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”.51-100 is considered “satisfactory”, 101-200 is “moderate”,201-300 is “poor”, 401-500 is “severe” and an AQI above 500 is in the “severe-plus emergency” category. The Supreme Court ordered that only green firecrackers be manufactured and sold. These firecrackers are a huge step taken by the government as they cause 30% fewer fuel emissions. However, this endeavour failed to draw buyers due to a lack of variety and extremely high pricing.
The AQI is also causing a varying amount of health problems among Delhi’s residents –like aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illness, damage to respiratory cells, extreme lung aging, loss of of lung capacity etc.
What Delhi needs is a plan to eliminate industrial fuel emissions, improve public transport and sanitation, and minimize burning of crops, dumping of waste and sewage. If this is not done, Delhi-NCR will be in the throes of a prolonged smoggy winter again in 2019.