Current State of Delhi Air Pollution

The air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) is one of the worst in the world, as per a WHO survey of 1,650 world cities. Air pollution in India is the fifth largest killer and it is estimated to kill about 2 million people every year. In Delhi, poor quality air damages irreversibly the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all children.

Air quality index of Delhi is generally Good (0–50), Satisfactory (51–100), to Moderate (101–200) levels between March to September, and then it drastically deteriorates to Poor (201–300), Very Poor (301–400), Severe (401–500) or Hazardous (500+) levels during October to February due to various factors including stubble burning, road dust, vehicle pollution, and cold weather.

Seeing the past trend, the air quality index of Delhi is likely to range between Poor (201–300), Very Poor (301–400), Severe (401–500), or Hazardous (500+) levels between January 2022 to February.

During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India, the air quality significantly improved. On 14 November 2021 the air quality index of Delhi again slipped to the severe category again.

Since October 2020, the air quality of Delhi has been deteriorating and on October 13 the Air Quality Index (AQI) was marked at 332 in the ‘very poor’ category.

After the Diwali 2019, the air quality of Delhi and NCR region dropped to Hazardous level in several localities. Over the years, the pollution level in the city of Delhi has gone bad to worse. In fact, as per a study carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) among 1600 cities, Delhi is the worst of any major cities in the world in terms of air pollution.

Further in November 2017, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealed that the air quality index (AQI) was as much as 448, making it ‘severe’ — considered as the worst category and one that comes with the warning that even healthy people are affected by the toxic air.

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