Every morning all we need is fresh air to breathe peacefully. We walk out, we jog, or we simply sip a cup of tea or coffee. But will you enjoy it when the air around you is hazardous to you? It turns out the people living in Delhi can feel the difference in the air they breathe due to pollution. Delhi’s air pollution is causing severe health problems like tightening in lungs and breathing issues.
Do you know that the most significant health risk for us Indians is air pollution? In 2019 due to air pollution, the death numbers spiked to 16.7 lakh people in India.
As per the World Air Quality Report, India is the fifth most polluted country globally. Around 21 of the most polluted cities in the world belong to India. Today Delhi’s air pollution has spiked to AQI 300+, which is a severe condition. As of 22nd October, Delhi’s air quality was “poor” to “very poor,” which was due to the unfavorable wind speed. One leading cause is the stubble burning of crops in the neighboring state. And another reason for the sudden spike is due to the firecrackers.
Delhi’s air pollution- case study!
As AQI surged post-Dussehra instantly, the AQI on Monday morning [26th October] reached 405 in Anand Vihar in the severe category CPCB[central pollution control board] data. However, the level of air pollution in areas like Rohini and Dwarka is also “severe.”
Last year on 15th November 2019, Delhi’s AQI was 507, bringing our capital to the world’s most polluted city. On the other hand, India is yet to celebrate Diwali 2020, the festival of lights. To Indians, Diwali without any crackers is no Diwali. Despite the ban, we have seen people violate the restrictions and expect the air pollution level to increase further.
Reason behind yearly pollution spike!
Air pollution is something Delhi faces every year in the month of October; there are plenty of reasons for the same. According to a study conducted by scientists at the National Physical Laboratory, 72% of Delhi’s wind in winters comes from the northwest. During the monsoons, the wind’s direction is easterly. This easterly directed wind carries moisture from the Bay of Bengal, bringing storms.
When monsoon withdraws, the wind’s direction is North West carrying the dust from Rajasthan, or sometimes Pakistan and Afghanistan, making Delhi’s air pollution far more worse. High-speed winds are very effective in dispersing pollutants with the change in wind directions. Henceforth, when we add extra fuel to the flame-like farm fires, vehicle emission, industrial activities, or dust storms, the pollutant increases.
India’s festive season is another reason!
Around 17 to 26% of all particulate matter of Delhi in winters is because of biomass burning. How can I forget to mention the festive season that occurs in the month of October and November. Our festive season doubles up the pollutant level. This year, due to the pandemic, the excess pollution is only due to firecrackers and fire in the neighboring state.
Health risk factors!
When someone says air quality is low, the risk factor not only limits our breathing issue and swelling of lungs. Many are facing breathing problems, and children have started facing throat problems due to contaminated air.
Researchers have also linked air pollutant effect with Covid-19, saying that air pollution can worsen the risk of covid-19 symptoms. Yes, this can be predicted as it directly attacks our respiratory system. In 2019, Lakhs of people died due to air pollution, and more than 1,16,000 infants died.
Major risk to infants!
Infants in the first month are already at a vulnerable stage. During the pregnancy, and if a woman exposes herself to severe air pollution, it leads to a childbirth deficit. The air pollution affected majorly to the elderly, pregnant women, and infants, causing severe health issues. Issues like stroke, choking, heart attack, lung cancer, childbirth deficit, and chronic lung diseases.
Are there any measures taken yet?
On Friday, 23rd October, a plea filed in Delhi High Court sought directions to the Delhi government and CPCB. To issue fresh orders and instructions at the earliest putting a strict ban on bursting firecrackers to prevent further air pollution.
The Delhi government has introduced few measures in the last few days to tackle air pollution. They have taken steps like starting an anti-dust campaign, using the bio decomposer technique for stubble burning, launching the electric vehicle policy, and announcing the tree plantation policy.
Penalty for violation!
A fine of Rs.20 lakh will be imposed for violating dust control norms. A fine of Rs.50 lakh for not following dust pollution control norms. Recently a penalty of Rs. 1 Crore was also charged by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on North MCD for its negligence regarding burning the garbage in the open. A considerable step apart from every action being taken is that the Delhi government has also shut down two thermal plants. These thermal plants were the most significant polluting source.
How can an individual help?
As we are at the end of season 2020 and in the middle of our festive days, people living in Delhi and nearby are instructed to opt for green crackers. Apart from the government taking these measures, the locals should also coordinate with the steps. Each individual must help reduce air pollution—Delhi today, with fewer other cities listed on the top of the world’s most polluted cities.
Let’s pledge not to use crackers this year as it doubles the pollution in the entire nation. If we continue to pollute our air, our city might rank as next top polluted cities in the world. Lets, not pollute our air in the name of festivals.