India suffers some of the worst air pollutions in world history. Delhi’s pollution is infamous, but air pollution is a national problem. Every district across the Gangetic Plain has annual exposures higher than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of 40 micrograms per cubic metres.
In central and west India, 82% and 50% of districts exceed the NAAQS. In the rest of the country, over 80% of districts meet the NAAQS, but essentially the entire country fails to meet the stricter WHO guidelines of 10 micrograms per cubic metres for particle air pollution. Although certainly bad, in terms of the total population exposed to health-damaging ambient pollution, Delhi is just a drop in the bucket.
When people are asked what causes the terrible pollution, most think of large and small industries, vehicles and power plants. There is also growing recognition of the importance of non-industrial sources, such as dust and burning of garbage and crop stubble. Read More