23 Facts That Will Help You Understand Delhi’s Air Pollution Problem

1. Air pollution in Delhi is caused mostly by industrial waste and vehicular pollution.

2. 80,000 trucks flit in and out of the city at night; some of these are two decades old and many of these run on a mixture of kerosene and diesel to save money.

3. Power plants within the city limits were found to be big contributors to the air pollution problem.

4. Particulate matter in the PM10 range is caused mostly by road dust (50%), industry (23%) and vehicles (7%).

5. Some reports suggest that as many as 10,000 people die prematurely each year due to the pollution levels in the city.

6. The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) is supposed to provide ‘lung spaces’ in the city.

7. 8,422 hectares of Delhi land is reserved for ‘the Greens’; the DDA manages more than 5,050 hectares of this land.

8. Part of the problem is the city’s ever-growing population and the resultant effect that this has on the environment.

9. Programs, like the CNG program, that were supposed to reduce air pollution, have failed. 1,000 new personal vehicles are added each day to the Delhi roads, many of which run on diesel.

10. The Supreme Court judgment that required all public transport vehicles to run on CNG reduced levels of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) but then pollution levels rose again.

11. Hospitals saw a dip in the number of respiratory ailments from 2003-2004 till 2006-2007, but the numbers had risen to alarming levels by 2013-2014.

12. The U.S. Embassy’s air pollution monitor covers the area of Chanakyapuri.

13. The Central Pollution Control Board air pollution monitoring sites cover the areas of Dilshad Garden, ITO, Shadipur, Delhi College of Engineering, and Dwarka. You can check the pollution levels of some areas here.

14. The Indian Meteorological Department air pollution monitoring sites cover the areas of Mathura Road, Aya Nagar, IMD Delhi, IGI Airport, IITM Delhi, Noida, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Dhirpur, Delhi University, and Pitampura.

15. A 2014 WHO report that listed Delhi as the most-polluted city in the world was rejected by the Indian government.

16. Many children and adults who live in Delhi suffer from lung-related diseases and the number is said to be on the rise.

17. Doctors seem to have a single advice for those who are suffering from respiratory diseases – Leave Delhi. A term that trended on Twitter recently.

18. PM2.5, which is considered the most dangerous particle, often reaches more than 20 times the permissible limit in Delhi’s air.

19. PM2.5 is exceedingly harmful because it is small enough to reach the lungs and can enter the bloodstream. It is carcinogenic.

20. In April 2015, the Delhi high Court criticized the government for presenting a “vague and general” plan to prevent air pollution.

21. Delhiites can help reduce the pollution in the air they breathe by using public transport, carpooling, adding to the green cover, etc.

22. A report by the University of British Columbia compared Delhi to Beijing, saying that Delhi had 7 days of “healthy” air in 730 consecutive days, as compared to Beijing’s 58.

23. While the time of day and location do matter for air quality reports, they should not be used as an excuse to ignore the growing pollution in Delhi’s air.


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