Citizens turn to the courts amid claims the government is failing to clean up New Delhi’s toxic atmosphere
“…New Delhi has already earned the dubious distinction of having the dirtiest air of any city in the world
— surpassing even Beijing — thanks to its toxic brew of diesel exhaust, construction dust, industrial emissions and the widespread burning of biofuels for cooking. But it is not just Delhi residents gasping for breath. Air in smaller Indian cities such as Gwalior, Patna, Raipur — which each have populations of 1m to 2m people — is also filthy containing dangerously high levels of particulates known as PM2.5, which lodge deep in the lungs and raise cancer risks. A World Health Organisation study of 1,600 urban centres found India has 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, as measured by average ambient PM2.5 levels. During Delhi’s smoggy winters the levels frequently exceed the WHO safe limit by 10 times.
“…Are Indian cities going to have air that people can actually live in, have babies in, and bring up their babies to be healthy and productive members of society — that’s a real question,” says Onno Ruhl, India country director of the World Bank. “We are working very hard to improve nutrition, education and skills training to give India a competitive workforce, and this [pollution] could really work against it . The health of kids is important if you want to realise the demographic dividend.”
Despite growing urban middle class alarm over filthy air, it is far from clear that India is willing — or able — to take tough action to clean it up. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority is promoting economic growth, with an emphasis on manufacturing and new coal-fired power plants to provide uninterrupted electricity supply across the country…” The Financial Times (Amy Kazmin). Read it on delhiair.org.
Pollution in India: Gasping for air