The capital of India is in the news for a very concerning reason – Air Quality Index. AQI is a parameter which measures the quality of air of a region. Delhi unfortunately is not faring well on the AQI scale. Albeit, the AQI in some areas of Delhi has breached the 999 mark which is 9 times higher than the moderate range of 51-100. These are alarming statistics if you are a resident of the city. Breathing polluted air poses several health hazards especially to children and the elderly.

While the government and civic authorities are trying stop gap measures to control Delhi’s air pollution the root causes remain unremedied as ever. Here are the primary causes of air pollution in Delhi NCR.

  1. Crop Burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh:
    One of the primary reasons for poor AQI in Delhi is the burning of crops by farmers in neighboring states. Farmers burn the paddy left from previous harvest to make way for new plantations. It is a low-cost measure for clearing out fields. As the new planting season begins, the paddy is burnt on a large scale causing a thick layer of smog over the Northern Plains, including Delhi NCR. Each year almost 35 million tons of paddy is burnt in these states.

    This year, the issue is even more severe due to wind blowing from Pakistan towards Central India, which has brought the smog over from our neighboring country as well.

  2. Pollution from Carbon Fuels:
    If you are a resident of Delhi or have ever visited the city then you must be familiar with Delhi’s traffic. Despite the availability of public transportation like the metro and local buses, vehicular transport is a major source of air pollution in Delhi. Vehicular smoke and other gaseous emissions from the exhaust increase the presence of pollutants in the air and add to the pollution menace.

    As a last resort, the Delhi Government has brought back the ‘odd/even’ scheme from the last year to reduce traffic and hence contain the emission of harmful pollutants. Cab Services like Ola and Uber have also forgone their surge pricing policy to help the city get out of its predicament. Despite these measures vehicular emissions still contributes to a major portion of air pollution in Delhi.

    Add to that the lack of proper electricity infrastructure for the demands of this megacity. Which leads to excessive use of diesel generator sets for power backup in private housing societies, malls and commercial establishments. These gensets are contributing tons of carbon in the air every minute.

  3. Onset of Winters:
    Weather conditions also worsen the AQI. As winter sets in, air molecules become heavy and dense. The cool air remains close to ground, hence locking the pollutants in and around the cityscape. A lack of strong winds then causes the Delhi’s notorious smog cover. While the change of seasons has always caused some change in air quality, the presence of excessive pollutants has worsened the situation.
  4. Infrastructure and Real Estate Construction:
    Sometimes development too comes at a cost. Construction in the region of Delhi NCR is also causing the decline of AQI in Delhi. Fine dust from construction activities is perceived as a major contributor to the toxic mix of smog. Keeping that in mind, the government and Supreme Court of India have banned all construction activities in Delhi NCR for now.

    Moreover, cement factories and coal fired brick kilns in the neighboring states have also been shut down in an attempt to curb the air pollution in Delhi NCR.

  5. Residual Pollutants from Diwali
    The Festival of Lights is celebrated with much vigor across the country. But it has also become a health hazard for Delhiites. Residual smoke from firecrackers increases the number of toxic metals in the air. The heavy smog means the metals can hang in the ambient environment for days, further worsening the AQI and breathability of Delhi’s air. While the government had taken steps to reduce toxic smoke from firecrackers by developing green alternatives, the measure was far from effective – at least this year.

Read More: Air Pollution Can Make You Feel Depressed

Concluding thoughts

For the foreseeable future, the solution to air pollution lies in ensuring that you and your family don’t breathe in the polluted air. Again, solutions like anti-pollution masks are only temporary and bring with them a level of discomfort. A more permanent and foolproof method is to install air purifiers.

Air purifiers cleanse the air in your homes, offices, schools and other indoor spaces where groups of people are breathing in the same polluted air. Air purifiers with the right air filters can ensure that your health and well-being is not compromised. More importantly, these units can bring veritable relief for people suffering from conditions like Asthma and lung infections.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why you Should Care about Rising Air Pollution

While investing in an air purifier make sure you choose one that does not compromise on quality. Moreover, buy HEPA filter air purifiers for maximum protection. HEPA filters can remove over 99 percent of air pollution from a room and is the most effective type of air purifier out there.

Honeywell is a Fortune 100 brand, renowned internationally for its R&D of new, innovative technologies. The company is involved in fields as diverse as aerospace, infrastructure development, industrial innovations, safety & security, productivity solutions, oil & gas, manufacturing and development of performance materials. In India, the company sells fully automatic air coolers, air purifiers, electrical switches and sockets, electrical safety products and home and office security solutions.