Jun 25, 2013

Air Pollution in New Delhi

After the furor created by the recent haze situation in Singapore, I wondered about the air quality back home in India. So I decided to check up the air pollution levels in New Delhi which is known to be one of the most polluted cities in India. What I found surprised me, the PSI level on average in New Delhi is 200+. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee provides real time data on air quality in different parts of Delhi on its website. A quick glance on the PM 10 concentration in Delhi suggests that the PSI level routinely goes above 400 (a level considered extremely hazardous by Singapore). I was really surprised that there is no one talking about it in India. The air quality in Delhi is one of the worst in the world. A recent article on Slate also found that air pollution in Delhi is far worse than Beijing (a city considered worst by many in terms of air pollution).

Residents in Delhi continuously breath air which is considered extremely dangerous by accepted standards in other parts of the world. Even though I have lived in Delhi for some time now and was aware of the pollution problem, I wasn't aware that it is possibly the worst in the world. News about air quality is rarely reported in the Indian media. As such many Indians are blissfully unaware about the gravity of the situation in Delhi. There is some evidence that the gains made by the CNG public transportation program in Delhi are already eroded. The high particulate content in Delhi is mostly due to road dust and industrial exhaust rather than vehicular pollution. This means than government intervention and systemic policy making can improve the air quality by shutting down industrial facilities near Delhi.

However it may be too much to expect the Delhi (State and Central) government to do anything concrete about this problem in the near future. In this respect India may be even worse than China where the local governing bodies have acknowledged the problem at least. The environmental bodies in Delhi are doing a good job providing real time air quality data but lack of awareness among the public, limited coverage by the local media and inaction by the appropriate agencies has left the residents high and dry. Can people themselves do something to make the air better ? May be the new Aam Admi Party can take up air pollution as an important issue for the next elections ? I am sure residents of Delhi could do with a bit of fresh air.


  1. There are so many things in our world that can change for the better. I guess our world provides ample opportunity to change-makers :)

  2. Not sure how you or everyone else is doing with the air pollution....specially during the Delhi winters. I started a new company - Breathe Easy - to help people breathe better air in Delhi. There actually are solutions for individuals. We have been tracking indoor air quality in our own building for over 15 years and have been certified by the CPCB to be one of the healthiest buildings of NCR. If anyone may be interested in solutions to air pollution, feel free to call us for a consultation or for solutions. 09873744440.

  3. Yes Patar and Barun you both are absolutely right.

  4. Just made a cheap home air purification system. Visit the instamojo link to see details and buy. Spread the word, guys. thanks.


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