Delhi, the capital of India, is notorious for its hazardous air quality, which poses a grave threat to the health and safety of its residents. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city regularly fluctuates between the “poor” range (201-300) and the “very poor” range (301-400). However, as the winter season approaches, the air quality is expected to deteriorate significantly. This is primarily due to the unique weather conditions during winter, where dust particles and pollutants in the air become stagnant due to a lack of wind, resulting in the creation of smog.
Many residents in Delhi can physically feel the impact of this poor air quality, often experiencing discomfort and irritation in their eyes, among other health concerns.
Despite the ban on firecrackers last Diwali, Delhi’s AQI reached “severe” levels (401-450) during the winter months. The Supreme Court has banned the sale and use of firecrackers during this year’s Diwali as well, but there remains uncertainty about the effectiveness of enforcing this ban.
Several other factors contribute to the ongoing air quality problems in Delhi. Overpopulation in the city has led to unmanageable levels of vehicular emissions. Furthermore, the increase in population has driven an upsurge in construction activities, which also contributes to air pollution.
Another significant issue is related to farmers in neighbouring states such as Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh. During the winter season, these farmers resort to burning crop residues to clear their fields for the next planting season. An estimated 35 million tonnes of crop residue are set on fire every year, releasing a substantial amount of pollutants and dust particles that are carried to Delhi by the wind.
While implementing a ban on firecrackers is a crucial step, we need a long-term strategy to address the dire situation in Delhi. One effective approach is to prioritise large-scale tree plantations. Since forests play a pivotal role as carbon sinks, increasing the green cover in Delhi will effectively reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It will also cool the environment, which can reduce the concentration of pollutants in the air.
At Grow-Trees.com, our project, Trees for Delhi, aims to improve the city’s air quality by expanding the green cover. You can plant trees with just a few clicks from the comfort of your home. It’s quick, easy, and online! You can also dedicate a personalised eTreeCertificate® to your friends and family.