What are the causes of air pollution in Delhi in points?

Delhi is the capital and commercial city of India. As the population grows, so does the demand for modern luxury items.

Huge industrial plants have been set up to meet this huge demand. As a result, the level of air pollution in Delhi is slowly increasing.

These toxic levels of air pollution are creating serious problems in Delhi and its environs. This situation is getting worse day by day.

About 65 % of air pollution in Delhi is due to local sources and this is the main reason for the very low air quality in the national capital and its adjoining areas.

Huge amounts of pollutants also enter the air and cause air pollution from thermal power plants, dirty fuels and diesel generators.

There are about 14 areas in Delhi where the level of pollution is higher than the city average. These areas have high pollution due to burning of municipal solid waste and industrial waste.

According to survey of more than 1,600 cities around the world found that the air quality in Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the worst cities in the world.

A 2017 survey found that Delhi’s air was twice as bad as Beijing’s.

It is estimated that about 2 million people die every year in India due to air pollution. Data indicate that one in four premature deaths in India is due to contamination.

According to the WHO, the death rate in India due to chronic respiratory diseases and asthma is the highest in the world.

In Delhi, air pollution damages the lungs of about 22.2 million or 50 per cent of all children.

According to a study by the Indian Ministry of Economics, vehicle emissions are responsible for about 41%, dust 21.5% and industries 18% as sources of air pollution in India.

But what are the reasons behind this increasing air pollution in Delhi? The main causes for air pollution in Delhi are discussed below.

Air pollution in Delhi for grain burning

  1. One of the main reasons for the increase in air pollution in Delhi is the burning of crops by farmers in the neighboring states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

It has been found that straw burning in Punjab and Haryana causes about 6–7% air pollution in Delhi.

One of the main reasons for the weak AQI in Delhi is the burning of crops by farmers in neighboring states.

Farmers burn the paddy left over from the previous crop to plant new crops.

With the onset of the new planting season, the paddy is burned on a large scale and forms a thick layer of fog in the northern plains, including the Delhi NCR.

About 35 million ton of paddy is burnt in this state every year.

Air pollution in Delhi from carbon fuels

2. Another major cause of air pollution in Delhi is the huge number of vehicles in Delhi.

The huge number of vehicles emitting smoke, fog, traffic jams and accompanying smoke has reached dangerous levels in the air of Delhi.

As a result, the air quality index has reached critical levels. The Central Pollution Control Board and the National Environmental Engineering

Research Institute has identified vehicle emissions as major contributors to the increase in air pollution in Delhi.

Air pollution in Delhi at the beginning of winter

3. Weather conditions also make air quality index worse. As winter begins, the air particles become heavier and denser.

The cold air stays close to the ground, so the infamous smog in Delhi is created around the city scene and after the lack of strong winds locking up the polluters.

Although seasonal changes have always caused some changes in air quality, the presence of additional pollutants has made the situation worse.

From October to December the AQI of Delhi can be deadly (401–500) or dangerous (500+) levels for a variety of reasons, including road dust, vehicle pollution, burning of straw and cold weather.

Air pollution in Delhi due to Diwali

4. Alok Utsav is a popular festival in India and Delhi during Diwali. But it has also become a health hazard for citizen of Delhi.

Huge smoke from fireworks increases the number of toxic metals in the air. Hence it is also a cause of air pollution in Delhi.

Heavy smoking means the metals can hang in the ambient environment for a few days, further aggravating the air quality index and making Delhi’s air breathing worse.

Infrastructure and real estate construction

5. Growing population growth is another major cause of air pollution in Delhi. AQI is declining in Delhi due to infrastructure and real estate construction in the Delhi NCR region.

Fine dust from construction activities is considered a major contributor to the toxic mixture of smoke.

Private housing associations, malls and commercial establishments are moving towards additional use of diesel generator sets for power backup.

These gensets are contributing large amounts of carbon to the air every minute.

Other causes of air pollution in Delhi

6. Low investment in public infrastructure is another cause of air pollution in Delhi. Public transport and infrastructural investment in India is low, which leads to congested roads and hence air pollution.

7. Industrial pollution and waste disposal air pollution is increasing and smoking in the air is increasing.

8. Despite the availability of public transport such as metro and local buses, public transport is a major source of air pollution in Delhi.

Vehicle fumes and other gaseous emissions from exhausts increase the presence of pollutants in the air and add to the risk of pollution.

9. Besides, cremation, aircrafts and medical incinerations, MSW burning hotel and restaurants etc are also causes of air pollution in Delhi.

10. Delhi’s pollution problem is also due to animal husbandry, as farmer burn various harmful particles from their states to other states.

11. About 80 % of the land used for agriculture is used for agriculture, so the fauna can also be blamed for the air pollution problem in Delhi.

12. Other causes include wood burning fires, farm fires, discharges from diesel generators, dust from construction sites, burning of rubbish and illegal industrial action in Delhi.

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