New Delhi: If you are facing a tough time in battling cough/cold or worse an upper respiratory tract infection, then Delhi's poor air quality could be the culprit. The city is literally gasping for breath, with air pollution levels seeming to be skyrocketing without any restraint.
A recent survey on the Most Livable Cities in the world by ECA International, found out that Delhi is the most polluted cities, not just in India and Asia, but also in the world. While New Delhi ranks 45 in the livability index in India, it is at a dismal 204 in the world.
Another survey by the CSE revealed that open modes like autorickshaws, walking and cycling have the highest exposure of the city pollution. “During off-peak hours, all modes show lower levels: Difference between peak and off-peak was as follows -- autos 1.3 times higher; walking 1.5 times higher, and buses 2.5 times higher," the CSE says.
Taking note of a report that said Delhi was the most polluted city in the world, the Delhi High Court recently said if nobody was looking into the issue, it will start giving directions and fix responsibility on the authorities.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the city government to check whether the Supreme Court was seized of the issue dealing with air pollution in the capital. "I had a talk with a paediatrician. He said 50 percent of children in Delhi are suffering from respiratory problems. It's not acceptable. If nobody is looking into the issue, it's high time we act into it," the bench said.
Doctors say poor air quality is one of the main reasons behind the rising cases of lung infections, heart attacks, and cancer in the national capital. Another study showed that more than 3,000 premature deaths occur every year in Delhi due to air -pollution related diseases.
Meanwhile the administration in the capital is working upon long term and capital intensive solutions which may not bear fruit in the near future.
A glaring example of this is Delhi's Metro which is in its 12th year is already ferrying 2.5 million passengers daily, but Metro requires huge investments and it also takes time to build the infrastructure of it. The phase III of the Delhi metro will already cost Rs 45,000 to the government's exchequer.
The option that is available before the government is to operate more buses because it is not only cheaper but also can be put to service as and when required. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is presently having a fleet of buses which is half the number of the actual buses required.
Another option before the Delhi Government is to revive the already dead Ring Rail network which was started during the 1982 Asian Games. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also mentioned this as one of their points on which they will work upon.
The capital not only requires a colour-coded smog alert system like China's Beijing city but also raising the level of awareness among the residents that how a high level of Air pollution is going to affect them in a bad way.