Air Quality Resources and Initiatives:
There are many videos about Delhi’s poor air quality. For example:
There are many newspaper articles about Delhi’s poor air quality. For example:
- ‘Can Delhi save itself from its toxic air?’: in Nature.
- ‘Death by Breath’: a series of articles in the Indian Express.
- ‘WHO clears air: Delhi no longer most polluted, that’s Zabol in Iran’: in the Indian Express.
- If you think Delhi’s air can’t get any worse, read ‘The Great London Smog of 1952’ for some historical context.
Organizations working on air quality research and awareness:
- Urban Emissions: an amazing site full of in-depth research and resources.
- Centre for Science and the Environment: an organization that does research and advocacy around environmental issues in India.
- SAFAR: a governmental body dedicated to research and forecasting related to air quality.
- Central Pollution Control Board: Government agency that oversees and monitors pollution nation wide. You can also find the Delhi Pollution Control Board.
- Air Quality in Delhi NCR and Beyond: A facebook group where concerned citizens post.
In the past 10 years, there have been at least four major studies on the underlying causes and sources Delhi’s poor air quality. If you read them, you will find it is a complex problem, in part because air itself is complex and always moving! You can read a summary of each study at the Urban Emissions Website. I would start there, because it’s more reader-friendly. This is a great resource for those who really want to dig into air quality.
- Study (1) CPCB 2010 (available on-line)
- Study (2) IIT-Kanpur 2015 (You can read report to Delhi Government here.)
- Study (3) Georgia-Tech (2007) (Available on-line)
- Study (4) Urban Emissions, 2013 (This research was published in two articles: one in Atmospheric Environment and the other in Environmental Development. These are for sale, but you can read an earlier working paper on this research here.)
Here are a few studies on the underlying effects of bad air quality.
- “Air pollution in Delhi: Its Magnitude and Effects on Health” in Indian Journal of Community Medicine. 2013 Jan-Mar; 38(1): 4–8.
- ‘Lung Cancer, Cardiopulmonary Mortality, and Long-term Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution’ (Pope, C. Arden et al. “Lung Cancer, Cardiopulmonary Mortality, and Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution.” JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 287.9 (2002): 1132–1141.)
- No, bad air is not as bad a smoking, because smoking is much more unhealthy than people realize. Here’s a study by C. Arden Pope that looks at this questions. Here’s a doctor blogger in China that puts it into more reader-friendly terms.
Delhi’s air quality problem is the result of many, many causes. It follows that there will not be just one solution. For a great introduction on how to control air pollution, Urban Emission’s Primer on Air Quality Management is a must-read!
There are many initiatives that have had or are impacting the problem in small and large ways. So far, none has been enough, but all have strengths and limitations. It might be be interesting to look at one of these.
- ‘Odd-Even Program: Analysis Q&A’: While Odd-Even did not solve Delhi’s air quality problem, these researchers from the US found that it did have a significant impact. It might not work in the long run, but some form of traffic-reduction is probably a necessary part of the air quality solution.
- ‘Delhi pollution: What Kejriwal govt is doing to improve air quality’–a short report in the Indian Express on some of what the Delhi government is doing.
- Here are some general initiatives that have been tried or considered. All have been shown to have an impact on air quality that you might research; all have strengths and limitations:
- Dust reduction in sweeping and construction;
- Reduction of day-time traffic and night trucks that run through the city;
- Reduction in use of coal fired plants;
- Reduction in the use of diesel vehicles and generators;
- Increase in public transportation options (metro; bus; train, etc.)