India stifles under smog


In 2016, on the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 10 are Indian. India is struggling against a high level of pollution palpable with a smog. Terminologically between “smoke” and “fog”, demonstrating fine particles abundance surging on cities. India must act because the health of its citizens is at stake: cursolutions are under study …

Smog in Dehli, © Mark Danielson/Flickr under a Creative Commons license


Air pollution: curse on India

In India, 1.1 million deaths are attributed to P 2.5 in 2017 according to the State of Global Air (website to follow air quality and health with data from the Health Effects Institute and the Instituer for Health Metrics and Evaluation). P2.5 are particles with a diameter smaller than 2.5 microns, those molecules cross respiratory tract and settle down on lungs. A study also highlights that the development of children was particularly constrained with such level of pollution.
But beyond these alarming figures, pollution is visible in the country and most cities are suffocating under smog. It especially made newspaper headlines at the end of November, with pollution increasing due to winter. This season saw less air flow, so particles are concentrated in cities. Delhi, the capital with more than 16 million inhabitants is not the most infected, much smaller cities in the north of the country are experiencing intense levels of fine particles.

Sources of pollution

In a region of the world where slash-and-burn farming are still used, which spread thick smoke full of fine particles. Airstream shift this pollution from neighbouring countries and pass it on to Indian’s cities. Construction industries are also incriminated with the production of dust from building site. Finally, wastes are also a key issue for pollution. People burn themselves their rubbish in the city, increasing dramatically level of fine particles in the smog. In addition to the increasing number of cars driving on streets.

Solutions to struggle

Facing this alarming fact, some cities wonder how to reduce pollution. Delhi considered alternate traffic circulation, but they finally gave up. Population was also adviced on good practices such as eating orange fruit or gargle with water and waste should no longer be burned.
Another measure was to spray water through helicopters. However, smog avoided them to take off.  Last solution: a water cannon was installed on December 20th. This solution, is lowering particles on the ground but required 100L of water per minute. This is not viable because it does not impact pollution sources but only attempts to reduce consequences. India must therefore act in this area. The Ministry of Environment is cooperating with the city of Delhi to launch in the capital the “air action plan “in January. But more ambitious measures should be taken shortly by the government.
Case to follow…




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