Pollutants Pose Problems for India

NAYA GHIRDARRY

India and China have been known to be the most populated countries in the world, but recently India has taken the number one spot. As stated in Hindustan Times, “The data shows that China’s strong measures in tackling pollution have resulted in a steady reduction in the particulate levels. With India, however, the trend is downward.

The year 2015 (the most recent year for complete data), especially, was the worst-ever recorded for premature deaths by exposure to pollutants.” The air pollution in New Delhi, India is the worst it has ever been. As expected in the winter months the air pollution in India has increased but, The Air Quality Index (AQI)  has reached a high of 999, when any number over 500 is considered to be hazardous and unhealthy. Although this is alarming, the air in India has never been clean and the country has been facing this problem for years.

When this news was first announced, construction was put on hold, and nearly 5,000 schools were closed for three days due to the smog that was created. Considering the smog was most visible the weekend after Diwali, many suggest that Diwali celebrations (which included setting off fireworks and firecrackers) contributed to the harmful and deadly smog. According to Popular Science, “The particles that form smog cause irritation to mucus membranes at best and can even enter the lungs, heart, or brain and cause permanent damage. UNICEF recently estimated that around 600,000 children under the age of five are killed by air pollution globally each year.”

Although air pollution has been a major struggle in India and has been the cause for many deaths, it is only being addressed now after the AQI has spiked to 17 times greater than it should be. The citizens of India have been forced to live amongst the filth without clean air to breathe along with many other countries around the world. This is a huge problem so one would think preventative measures and solutions would have been made, yet this is a situation that is typically ignored. How is it that people could sit back and do nothing about this? Not only is it dangerous for the people in Delhi when they’re traveling around the city, but it is also hazardous for their long-term health.

We spend so much time warning individuals not to smoke because it can lead to disease and death, but their very own environment can be just as bad or worse than smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. There should be more attention brought to this issue rather than pushing aside because there are “more important things.”