The Great Smog of Delhi - Is There Any Solution at All?

The issue of climate change is no news for us. Countries and environmental bodies have been debating over this for years and some people still refuse to believe or realize the gravity of the situation. But how long are we going to turn a blind eye and refuse to face the truth, really?

Looks like a wake-up call for all of us is here after all. The Great Smog of Delhi, which had the whole of the capital and NCR regions covered with a foul-smelling, unbreathable air around it, is nothing but extreme air pollution. Air quality is measured by the amount of PM 2.5 and PM 10 particulates suspended in air. This November, the PM 2.5 levels in Delhi shot up to 999, much above the recommended 60 micrograms and at the same time PM 10 shot to 999 instead of the recommended limit of 100. And that’s because the index only goes up to 999. The actual pollution levels could be much, much higher as well.

Breathing Delhi’s air was like smoking 45 cigarettes a day! With visibility plummeted, health emergency declared, schools shut down - the condition was just horrible, to say the least. Visibility was so low that there are reported incidents of major car accidents on the highway. Constant coughing, reddening of the eyes, chest congestion are the common problems that people at large complained of in Delhi.

The long-term effects get even worse, leading to constant respiratory problems, the risk of heart diseases due to hardening of the arteries and asthma. Young children are more prone to developing respiratory diseases when they breathe air quality as bad as this and pregnant women have double chances of autism in the newborn.

Some blame the 10 million cars that fill the roads of Delhi NCR, others blame the stubble burning that happens in neighbouring states. According to the sources from BBC, the low temperatures and the slow winds have aggravated the problem even further by not allowing the polluted air to escape the atmosphere and get denser. The problem we are facing is definitely real. And it might just get worse.

There have been various dialogues and discussions about battling the issue but hardly any of them go beyond just certain arguments to be won. Not all, though. Let’s adapt new and innovative ways and inspire others to join as well. There are certain startups which are using technology to address the issues of waste management, emission reductions or alternative sources of energy. Get inspired, join the ones who are providing ways for us to do something about the problem we are living in.

Changing our habits and adapting innovative alternatives in our lifestyle is the least we can do. Our sensitivity towards the environment that we all are part of and our small efforts might actually make a greater impact.

For instance, most people we see driving to work every morning are single commuters. Why not adopt a sustainable and innovative alternative? Alternatives like carpool, bike taxis, or if shorter distances, even cycling. Interesting options like Rapido bike taxi gives an option of taking a bike ride while commuting solo. Or maybe, facilitate a carpool among your peers. Such options are easier on the pockets and convenient as well.

Air pollution is a grave issue and if we still don’t take it seriously, we are in for a run as a society. The warning bells are ringing already. It is our turn to take the call now.