Days after the Diwali celebration in Delhi, India, a thick smog from the various fireworks and lights remains and covers the city. The Festival of Lights occurs annually in India and represents the victory of good over evil. While it is a time for festivities, the holiday causes the pollution levels to spike each year due to the pollutants and toxins released into the atmosphere.
The amount of air pollution detected is measured by the Air Quality Index. It lets people know about how harmful it is to be outside as well as the health risks and effects associated with the level. Even though Delhi experiences higher than average air quality levels, the pollution this year after Diwali is dangerously high. Now, the population is concerned for the environment and health of others.
The Air Quality Index is currently around 300. The World Health Organization recommended limit is approximately 60. The alarming level has resulted in over half a million deaths and even more respiratory-related illnesses. The government has released health guidelines warning individuals about chest and breathing problems. They encourage citizens to wash their eyes and seek medical attention if experiencing chest pains and constriction.
Although the celebration ended weeks ago, the pollution has remained around the city due to the low winds. Usually winds shift the smoke and disperse the harmful compounds in the air. The high moisture in the air has trapped emitted pollutants, causing adverse health effects for citizens. Air purifiers have become popular as they clean the atmosphere by filtering the air, which helps prevent children and families from inhaling dangerous pollutants.
Delhi has closed schools along with some construction sites and workplaces in order to take precautionary measures over the hazardous conditions. Another immediate solution the government is exploring is carpooling or limiting the number of cars on the road. However, once the conditions become tolerable again, construction, vehicle usage, and crop burning will continue. The responsibility of India’s environmental future lies in the hands of others. Creating and enforcing legislature will be difficult as many comfortable and convenient lifestyles will need to change.
Delhi continues to be one of India’s most polluted cities. The recent Diwali celebration has brought greater attention to the world about the environmental issues of the area. The fast population growth of the nation has contributed to the thick and consistent smog observed around the cities. While the government is currently working to find better solutions to the worsening problem, the country continues to accommodate the lifestyles of its people.
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Edited by: Daryn Dever and Naomi D’Arbell