Model Question and Answers for APSC | Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?

Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?

Model Question and Answers for APSC | Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata are the three megacities of the country but air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to the other two. Why is this so?

Ans: According to a Greenpeace Southeast Asia analysis of the economic cost of air pollution, air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in Delhi in 2020.

Air pollution is a much more serious problem in Delhi as compared to Mumbai and Kolkata:

  • Emissions from Vehicles: Delhi has over 9 million registered vehicles. Furthermore, the number of vehicles entering Delhi from neighbouring states is very high.
  • Stubble Burning: Crop burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh is one of the primary causes of increased air pollution during the months of October and November. The wind transports all of the pollutants and dust particles that become trapped in the air.
  • Fireworks: Fireworks are used in both Diwali celebrations and It is the primary cause of smog in Delhi following Diwali.
  • Geographic location: Because Delhi is landlocked, pollution does not dissipate as quickly as it does in coastal cities like Mumbai or Chennai due to strong land and sea breeze.
  • Winter pollution: Due to stagnant winds, dust particles and pollutants in the air become stable during the winter season, resulting in smog.
  • Overpopulation contributes to various types of pollution such as massive solid waste, water waste, construction activities emitting particulate pollution, and so on.
  • Large-scale construction in Delhi-NCR causes dust and pollution in the air.
  • Thermal Power Plants and Industries: Pollution in the air is caused by industrial pollution and coal-fired power plants in Delhi and surrounding areas.

According to a study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), neighbouring states account for approximately 60% of the PM2.5 burden in Delhi. No policy is likely to succeed unless it considers regional factors. Thus, Delhi's air pollution is a regional issue requiring regional collaborative solutions.