How much severe Delhi's Pollution actually is ?

If you are living in Delhi, you can experience sudden increase in pollution level. All of the Delhi is covered in dense smog, resulting in breathing problems and itching in eyes, as immediate consequences, and many other harmful health condition.

So how to quantify this pollution, everywhere in the news it is being said that pollution is severe, but how much severe is it actually ? Let's look at it.
Quality of air is measured by measuring various component of pollution in the air which can be Particulate matter(PM), Ozone, Nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. The concentration of these pollutants is measured in micro grams per cubic meter (μg/m3). Right now particulate matter is causing havoc over Delhi.

Particulate Matter(PM): These are small solid or liquid particle with, diameter less than 10 micro meter called PM10 and diameter less than 2.5 micrometer called PM2.5. PM2.5 is more harmful as it can go into the lungs and affect our health, it could cause lung cancer also. Stubble burning in the neighboring state of Haryana, Punjab and UP is the main reason for increase in concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 in Delhi.

Following charts indicates different level of AQI value:

This chart shows how serious the problem is, Delhi is looming on severe level from 2-3 days. PM10 and PM2.5 concentration has increased to a drastic high, which has made Delhi air nearly unbreathable. High concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 has many serious adverse effect on both, health and environment. According to EPCA site, exposure to PM particles can affect both your lungs and heart, it give rise various health complication, including:

  • Premature death in people with heart or lung diseases
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Decreased lung function
  • Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficult breathing.
Adverse environmental effects include, Visibility impairment. Moreover these particles can be carried by wind and then settle on ground or water which could have negative impact like:
  • Making lakes and stream acidic
  • Changing the nutrient balance in coastal waters and large river basins
  • Depleting the nutrients in soil
  • Damaging sensitive forests and farm corps
  • Effecting the diversity of ecosystem
  • Contributing to acid rain effects
The maximum limit for AQI is 500, and Delhi has crossed that limit. So, the pollution in Delhi is real at hazardous level, it is quite similar to the Great smog of 1952 in London, which took the life of nearly 4000 people. However, during Great smog of London SO2 level was also high, which in Delhi is at moderate level.

The condition is quite worse here too, this dense smog could result in premature deaths. Government should immediately take some concrete steps for the well being of dwellers of this city.


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