The World Daily
Indian Capital experiences its most dangerously polluted air of the year

Photo by Rupinder Singh on Unsplash


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | NOVEMBER 5th 2021 


Following the Festival of Lights known as Diwali in India, New Delhi had experienced a severe and toxic smog coating over the city the morning after – a combined result of the city’s already severely polluted air, and the defying of a fireworks ban during the celebrations.

Diwali is a five-day long festival in India, typically celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. It’s one of the country’s most major celebrations, and despite a fireworks ban having been implemented during this period to avoid the negative effects of firework smoke, plenty were set off nonetheless by the festival’s revellers.

Of all the worldwide capital cities, New Delhi is renowned as the one with the absolute worst air quality and toxic smog pollution. Air readings are taken nearly every day to determine the quality of air and how it’s changing – with results having been particularly bad on Friday, following the festival of lights.

“The firecracker ban didn’t seem to be successful in Delhi, which led to hazardous pollution levels adding on top of existing perennial sources,” said an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Sunil Dahiya.

A ban on firecrackers and fireworks is imposed annually in India around this time, either by India’s Supreme Court or by governmental authorities. However, it’s rare that this type of ban is ever followed, and widespread use is often inevitable.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) had risen up to the highest concentration of toxicity recorded all year – that being 451 on a scale of 500. The way AQI works is by measuring the amount of poisonous particulate matter PM2.5 that’s found in one cubic meter of air.

The World Health Organization typically deems anything above an annual average of five micrograms as dangerous, and the PM2.5 reading for New Delhi on Friday was found to be averaged at 706 micrograms. 


The reading had peaked at an average of 389 the day before, on Thursday. The results of all this were a thick brown smog of toxicity falling over the city.

Of the world’s 15 most polluted cities, ten of them are all found in India. The countrywide air pollution is only perpetuated by crop burning, industrial emissions and severe exhaust fumes from its many roads. The city of New Delhi alone is known to have a population of around 20 million people.

Dr Ambrish Mithal, who works at the Max HealthCare hospital in New Delhi, had made his frustrations over the unliveable conditions of the capital known online following the revelation of the latest readings.

He wrote on Twitter: “It’s terrible for those with allergies and asthma. We will continue to squabble over reasons and are doomed to suffer.”

On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and stated that the country would be aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 – a more realistic goal for India, but a target that many people believe isn’t anywhere near ambitious enough. 


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2021 

Source: Al Jazeera, Financial Times, The Guardian