The Indian capital, Delhi, is once again plunged into a severe air pollution crisis, posing a threat to the health of its residents. The levels of PM 2.5 particles are currently 35 times higher than the WHO-recommended standards, turning the air into a toxic yellowish haze. In response to this critical situation, authorities have temporarily closed all primary schools in the city for at least two days.
A Recurring Crisis
Regrettably, Delhi is consistently ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world. The primary causes of this pollution include agricultural crop burning by farmers in northern India, industrial emissions, and vehicular traffic. Despite authorities’ efforts to find alternative solutions, agricultural crop burning remains a major source of air pollution in Delhi.
Impact on Public Health
A recent study published in The Lancet reveals that air pollution in India caused 1.67 million deaths, including nearly 17,500 in the capital alone in the previous year. Fine particulate matter in polluted air can penetrate deep into the lungs and circulatory system, leading to respiratory diseases, cardiovascular issues, and even cancer. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health problems are particularly vulnerable.
Dependence on Coal
India heavily relies on coal for its energy production, significantly contributing to increased fine particulate emissions. Unfortunately, the country has been hesitant to adopt policies aimed at phasing out polluting fossil fuels, despite scientific evidence and WHO recommendations.
Delhi authorities have implemented several measures to reduce pollution, including suspending construction work and implementing traffic restrictions. However, these actions appear insufficient given the gravity of the situation. It is crucial to enforce stricter policies to reduce emissions, promote the use of clean energy sources, and encourage sustainable transportation.
The Urgency to Act
The current air pollution situation in Delhi is more than alarming. Elevated levels of fine particles in the air pose a serious threat to public health, and authorities must act swiftly and decisively to protect the population. It is imperative to implement policies aimed at reducing polluting emissions, promoting renewable energies, and encouraging more sustainable lifestyles. The health and well-being of millions of people depend on it.
The air pollution crisis in Delhi underscores the urgency to protect public health. The current situation is the result of years of neglect and inadequate policies. It is time for Indian authorities to take bold steps to reduce pollution, safeguard the environment, and improve the quality of life for their citizens. The health of Delhi’s residents and many other regions in the country is at stake, and it is our duty to do everything in our power to reverse this harmful trend.
Read more : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/nov/03/delhi-india-air-quality-pollution-spike-world-health-organization-limit