A recent international survey has declared New Delhi as one of the most polluted cities in the world, with the highest concentration worldwide of airborne particles, which is termed as PM2.5. This extreme level of toxic particles in the air of the capital has led to an adverse impact on the health of its residents, with as many as 3000 premature deaths caused in the city annually due to air pollution, as per a joint study conducted by Energy Resources Institute, Delhi and Health Effects Institute, Boston. It is scary to know that the population of this so called posh city is exposed to such extensive health hazards on account of pollution and makes it essential to the study the causes of pollution in the city.
Here are 10 reasons why Delhi is the most polluted city in the world:
1. Excess Vehicular Traffic
Delhi boasts of great prosperity, with people owning a large number of vehicles, but the excess vehicular traffic in the city is turning out to be the basic cause of pollution here. Every nook and corner of the city is crowded with cars, buses, auto rickshaws, scooters and motorbikes, all continuously emitting toxic smoke and blaring horns, causing air and noise pollution at the same time.
2. Extremely High Population
Another major reason of Delhi being the most polluted city in the world is its rapidly growing population, which is causing damage to the environment of the city in many ways. Trees are being cut and the city is being transformed into concrete jungle, with the suburbs being rapidly coming under construction. Moreover, the public transport has to bear additional burden to fulfill the needs of the population of the city, which is causing unprecedented increase in pollution levels.
3. Industrial Pollution
Besides being the capital of the country, Delhi is a major industrial center too. The evolution and rapid growth of industries within the city is also playing a major role in increasing the pollution levels in the city.
4. Pollution caused by Haphazard Construction in the City
Construction of high rise buildings and public undertakings like Delhi Metro is also contributing to a considerable extent, in making Delhi as one of the most polluted cities in the world.
5. Too many Diesel Vehicles
Another reason which makes Delhi the most polluted city in the world is that the city abounds in the number of diesel powered vehicles like buses and trucks, which emit a great deal of pollution causing smoke. Steps have been taken to convert auto rickshaws to CNG, but they don’t seem to be enough to curb the problem.
According to a survey, the main culprit for causing pollution in the city is road dust, which accounts for nearly 50% of the particulate matter in the air in the PM10 range, followed by industry (23%) and vehicles (7%).
7. Pollution caused by Power Plants
A large number of power plants in and around the city have played a vital role in making Delhi as one of the most polluted cities in the world. These plants make use of fossil fuels which are highly hazardous to human health.
8. Agricultural Fires
Wrong agricultural practices in the surrounding areas like agricultural fires have resulted in raising the level of pollutants in Delhi air, which has also affected the environment of the city adversely. Other practices like usage of pesticides and fertilizers are also causing a great deal of damage.
9. Incorrect Treatment of Industrial Waste
The city also gets polluted because of lack of scientific methods of treatment of industrial and hospital wastes, which are being generated at the rate of millions of tones everyday and just being strewn around the dumps or flowed into the Yamuna, increasing the pollution levels in the city manifold.
10. High Level of Indoor Pollution
The rapid urbanization of the city has caused development of residential and commercial projects, where indoor pollution is prevalent, with high use of air conditioning and application of biomass for heating and cooking. Also, nothing much is being done for scientific waste disposal in domestic and commercial sectors. Household chemicals, paints and pesticides are also contributing to pollution in the city.
Overall, some solid steps need to be taken to curb the problem of pollution in Delhi, otherwise the day is not far ahead, when the residents of the city will need oxygen masks while going out.