Nine days and counting, Delhi's air quality continues to be in the hazardous range and, guess what, nobody is fighting for their #RightToBreathe. According to the World Air Quality Index Rankings by Air Visual (live and forecast air quality information portal), Delhi has earned a title that we aren't proud of. Our national capital has become the most polluted city in the world with an AQI of 527 today.
The last time the city held such a high record was for eight consecutive days between November 7 to 14 in 2017. Cut to 2019, and the situation hasn't improved.
As of today, according to World AQI rankings by Air Visual, six of the top 10 cities with the worst air quality are from the Indian subcontinent including Delhi. Lahore, Karachi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Kathmandu are the other five cities.
Naturally, this noxious air is leading to a rise in health problems. Hospitals in Delhi have reported higher numbers of patients (especially children and elderly) with respiratory issues in the past 10 days alone. Dr. Arvind Kumar, a chest surgeon from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, "I am seeing 28-year-old non-smokers with stage four lung cancer. It's a very painful experience for me. I am very angry because I am losing young patients to air pollution."
Earlier this month, the government had declared a public health emergency in the city and NCR regions. Schools were shut (and still are), night-time construction activities were put to halt as well. In fact, multiple flights are getting delayed or cancelled due to poor visibility caused by heavy smog every day.
According to Air Visual (World AQI monitoring site), in 2017 alone about 1.24 million people died in India due to toxic air quality. Fifty-four percent of these deaths were caused by ambient air pollution, which can be controlled by stringent government actions. But, it looks like, we are waiting for more casualties at the hands of poor air quality. At a time when the UN Green Body has declared pollution as the fourth season in India after summer, monsoon and winter, it is high time the government takes steps to deal with the toxic crisis.
Featured Image: Twitter, Air Visual
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