The pollution will destroy Delhi

International - Delhi has the dirtiest air in the world

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The air quality of India's capital Delhi is extremely poor. At least that's what a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) says. Hardly anyone in Delhi cares - although the consequences are already being felt today.

Author: Karin Wenger, Delhi

Now it's particularly bad. Because of the cold, the smog cannot escape. In Delhi you can often see only a few hundred meters. The exhaust fumes from two and a half million cars are in the air. Every day in Delhi there are 1,400 more cars. But the cars are not solely responsible for the bad air.

In the city, migrants and guards are warming themselves by small, open fires. And outside the city, farmers burn their fields in winter. The smoke is driving into the capital.

Worst air quality in the world

According to the World Health Organization, Delhi has, on average, the worst air quality in the world. The particulate matter in particular has been alarmingly high in the past few weeks. In Switzerland, values ​​of more than 20 micrograms of fine dust per cubic meter are considered to be questionable.

In Delhi, the air often contains well over 400 micrograms per cubic meter, i.e. more than twenty times the amount permitted in Switzerland. A visit to a hospital in the capital shows that this is harmful to health.

The 50-year-old patient Punam complains of shortness of breath: “I have asthma and pneumonia because of the air pollution. Whenever possible I stay in the house. " Like Punam, many in Delhi are doing, says doctor Vikas Maurya: “We have more patients with pneumonia, infections, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and asthma. The elderly and children in particular are affected by increasing air pollution. "

Awareness of the problem is low

According to the Yale Center for Environmental Law, people who grew up in India's major cities have the lowest lung capacity in the world. The country has the highest number of deaths from respiratory diseases.

Nevertheless, awareness of the problem is extremely low, says businessman Barun Aggarwal. He sells air filters in the capital - mainly to foreigners. Because: "Many Indians still believe that if they clean the air in their homes, it weakens their immune system."

Indian Government: Study Exaggerated

The Indian government described the WHO study, according to which Delhi has the worst air quality, as exaggerated. In October, however, she launched an online index as part of her mission for a clean India. This allows you to track the current air quality using numbers and colors on the Internet. Currently, the color red dominates in Delhi: extremely harmful to health.

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  • Commentary by Sascha Schulthess, Guadalajara
    Dheli has replaced Mexico City. More and more bicycle stations are being built here. You can rent a bike here and go to work and back again, good idea. The criticism is a bit exaggerated because emerging countries want and are allowed to rise, and we are complicit in this. The same thing happened in Europe at the time of industrialization. Clean energy is the key. Switzerland is a role model when it comes to hydropower! Water is not used and India would have enough water
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from manish Gupta, Gümligen
    Nothing will change there either !! So many vehicles that drive on the streets every day and people who do not notice that they are all destroying the environment themselves. Asian countries will always generate a lot of air pollution, environmental pollution etc. if the individual people start with themselves. In India, for example, plastic bottles, tablet paper etc ... are mostly simply thrown on the floor. In the houses it is not sorted individually according to metal, plastic, paper etc ...
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Barbara Frei, Zurich
    India has had a population increase of 160 million over the past 10 years. Either a birth regulation that violates human rights according to European values, or soon natural mass death, will come from the government. This is not politics, this is math and evolution. Only a naive green thinks the problem can be solved through environmental protection. China once faced the same choice and opted for birth control.
    Agree agree to the comment

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