Living in a gas chamber: Life in Delhi NCR
The National Capital Region -- home to nearly 50 million people and the political power centre of the country to 1.3 billion -- has gone way beyond the scale. The situation is more dangerous than hazardous (I don’t know how else to say that). For Delhi as a whole, the AQI reading was 619.
Today morning, I clicked a picture near my house in Noida uploaded as the WhatsApp story. A friend from Bangalore replied to it immediately: “Hey, you need to change your phone, the picture looks smudged, blurry and smoky. Is your lens broken?”
He could not comprehend that it was the thick smog that made the picture look so. Perhaps, he also did not know that I live in a special city: one that holds the record for the worst air quality.
So, I had to explain to him this. That it’s not the lens that's broken, it’s the city.
On Sunday, the PM2.5 value in the Air Quality Index at Noida is above 650, as I write this around 2 PM.
The Air quality index tells us about how clean or polluted their city is. It mainly looks into the amount of dust and other chemical particles floating in the air, which are the size of 2.5 micrometres (PM 2.5) and 10 micrometres (PM10). A human hair is about 100 micrometres.
While an AQI value of below 50 is considered good and clean, 50-100 are considered moderate, 100-150 are considered unhealthy, 201-300 is considered very unhealthy, 300-500 are considered Hazardous.
The National Capital Region -- home to nearly 50 million people and the political power centre of the country of 1.3 billion --, has gone way beyond the scale. The situation is more dangerous than hazardous (I don’t know how else to say that). For Delhi as a whole, the AQI reading was 619.
I spoke to people. Most were feeling just like me. Angry and helpless.
We had spoken to Dr Sarita Ahlawat of IIT-Delhi, to understand the reasons behind this critical AQI value of Delhi. We also asked her if there were any solutions for the state the city currently is. Watch the video.
To get a clearer understanding of where Delhi is placed globally with respect to AQI, have a look at this AQI list of various cities across the globe.
PS: I had been cutting down on my cigarettes in the last few months, to eventually quit smoking. But breathing this air is equivalent to smoking 15-20 cigarettes a day, I read in a report. Maybe, I won’t have to worry about withdrawal symptoms now!