There are numerous factors which have collectively caused the smog condition of Delhi. The major ones are –
- Low Winds – It has been reported that there are no winds in the vertical column. This causes a problem of dispersal of pollutants in the air. This problem had lead to toxic and contaminated air causing breathing problems.
- Burning of Paddy Stubble – The biggest reason has been burning of paddy stubble by the farmers of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. These unending fires have resulted in accumulation of particulate matter in the atmosphere which has reduced the visibility level to a great extent.
The image given below was captured by NASA. It pictures the recent fires by farmers on 1st November, 2016 in the areas of Punjab, Haryana & UP. The continuous problem of burning solid waste in and around Delhi has also added to the problem.
- Diwali Firecrackers – Not to ignore the fact that, like every year, huge amount of money was spent by people to buy their own coffins. Sorry, I meant firecrackers!
- Other factors – These include dust by the roadside & from construction units, vehicular emissions and turbulent weather conditions. Here is a comprehensive breakup of pollution contributors in Delhi from a 2010 study.
Road Dust accounts for Delhi’s 31% PM10 & 9% PM2.5 emissions.
The cumulative result – unbearable smog!
This smog is contagious! It can prove out to be fatal for the people with respiratory problems. Here’s an example –
At Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, 62-year-old Delhi resident Ajeet Singh is now battling for his life after he complained of severe breathlessness while returning from morning walk. And he is not alone. There are several people out there who are in trouble.
The Doctors of SGR Hospital explained,
There are two kinds of respiratory problems being faced by people:
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection – which leads to irritation in eyes, throat, dry cough, fever, continuous headache and mental irritation.
- Lower Respiratory Tract Infection – which leads to bronchitis, weakness, pain in joints and breathlessness.
There are many other hazards like lung issues, heart diseases & body ache which are associated to the problem of pollution caused by smog.
Efforts by Government
The following steps are being taken by Delhi Government:
- Vacuum cleaning and sprinkling of water is being done on roads.
- Efforts are being made to reduce the amount of dust at construction sites.
- PWD is installing air purifiers at the traffic intersections.
- Aam Aadmi Party has re-launched it’s Swachch Delhi App for help.
- Face masks have been made available at medical stores.
- Anil Dave (Union environment minister) called an emergency meeting of authorities in NCR.
VI. Piece of Advice
In order to ensure safety, please follow these suggestions –
- Avoid carbon emitting vehicles for the subsequent week.
- Use public transport – DTC Buses & Delhi Metro.
- Use air-mask or handkerchief to cover your nose when out.
- Wear glasses to protect your eyes.
- Try not going out for morning/evening walk.
- Take special care of children, elderly and people with respiratory problems.