Delhi Air Posing Major Health Risks

By: Chelsea Cozad

The health of 90 million people who live in Delhi, India is being compromised due to increasingly damaging pollution problems. More and more residents are complaining to doctors of chest pain and problems breathing–for a valid reason. Their city is covered in a hazy white fog caused purely by mass pollution.

The U.S. embassy air quality index considers anything registering over a 25 point mark, measured by the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 per cubic meter), to be dangerous. At one point the air in Delhi topped 1,000. Breathing in air with such high levels is roughly equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day, according to the independent Berkeley Earth science research group.

The thick clouds and health risks has caused the government to close schools for six consecutive days at one point, warning for children to stay inside. The highest court of Delhi even paralleled being in the city and breathing the air to being in a gas chamber.

Delhi’s government looked for different ways to manage the toxins in the air and has been looking to implement the “odd-even scheme.” This policy asks citizens driving a odd-numbered vehicle to drive on an odd day, like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and citizens with an even-numbered car to drive only on even days, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. However, this policy is in debate and has not been approved yet. 

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