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Delhi’s Smog Snog: It’s breathtaking.

Like most people in Delhi, the city itself is in a toxic relationship as it records season's worst air quality two days ahead of Diwali.
Delhi Smog Blog Header- Switch Conversations

If you’re the smartass who decoded it from the title then yes, it is with Smog (smoke+fog). And no, not love but Nitrogen & Sulfur oxides, ozone and PM 2.5 is in the air. PM 2.5 is a pollutant which is about 30 times finer than a human hair (Bad hair day alert). If inhaled deep into the lungs, it can lead to cancer, strokes, heart disease and other respiratory diseases. In 2018, Delhi witnessed less than 120 days of clean breathable air. That is less than 32% of one year. Yes, I had to put the percentage equivalent as well because some of you may think “120” is a good number. It’s nowhere close to good, it’s scary.

Smog is scary. Enough for you to consider it as your halloween costume this year. Some sources of Delhi Smog are mainly:

Easy Peasy: Lung Squazy

Delhi Smog - Burning Stubble in India- Switch Conversations

Crop burning in Haryana, Punjab and western UP. There is a short window between the harvesting of paddy and the sowing of wheat, farmers clear their fields for sowing and setting fire to the leftover post-harvest paddy straw is the easiest way for them to get the job done.

Leave me breathless – All year

Delhi Smog - Car Emissions India- Switch Conversations

Vehicular Emissions, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) state that it is one of the major contributors no matter the season.

Build up a breakdown

Delhi Smog - Construction Dust India - Switch Conversations

Construction and demolition activities generate lots of dust which, when mixed with the prevalent smog, deteriorates the quality of air, further.

Coaling it an emergency

Delhi Smog - Coal Power Plant India - Switch Conversation

Coal fired power plants & industries in and around the city also come do their part.

Cut to the pace

Delhi Smog - Deforestation India - Switch Conversation

Deforestation has not lost it’s pace from the past few decades. Lots of green cover has been lost which is not outnumbered by the different plantation drives citizen start.

All of the above come together to form this horrific, misty sight and since the winter winds are sluggish, they help it stay on for longer.

Though it’s bad throughout, there are phases when pollution is at its worst:

  • September to November: Crop burning plays a vital role
  • December to January: Cold winter air prevents pollutants from dispersing

The Delhi government, with the help of the neighbouring states, is definitely trying to lower the impact that this year’s Delhi Smog will cause. But as individuals, there are a bunch of things that we can take up, and all of them start with us:

  • Use public transport as much as possible to help curb vehicular pollution
  • Utilize existing resources and make your surroundings greener 
  • Understand that air pollution is not just outdoors but indoors as well and take necessary steps
  • Undertake the responsibility to educate yourself and the people around you about the seriousness of this unnatural phenomenon

However, the situation is indeed critical and if it doesn’t scare you enough, then have a look at this study which states that Delhi loses over 80 lives to air pollution every day. The number is truly breathtaking. 

[This article is written by our guest writer Dushyant Sachdeva.]

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