New Delhi’s Worsening Air pollution Compared with Beijing

Air-pollutionThe air pollution in New Delhi has increased to such an extent that it is being compared with that of Beijing, the world's poster child for pollution.

Because of the pollution, the air is so foggy that it even affects the traffic of the India's congested capital. Even trains and flights are delayed or canceled because of the smog.

This winter Delhi's average daily PM2.5 level was 240 micrograms per cu m, says the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based environmental advocacy group. PM2.5 level is a measurement of very small airborne pollutant particles that can even penetrate deep into the lungs.

In comparison to the level of PM2.5 level in Delhi, the level of the same remained mostly below 250 in Beijing in 2013. On January 15, it was recorded that Beijing's PM2.5 reading crossed the 500 mark for the first time this year. But, Delhi has already recorded eight such days in the same time span.

The World Health Organization considers 25 to be a safe PM2.5 level.

This level also has a negative impact on health of people. A 2013 study revealed that air pollution is the fifth largest killer in India, thereby causing premature deaths of over 600,000 people. The figure is increased by six times from 2000.

Delhi's top pulmonologists, Dr. Vivek Nangia, said, "This year, there's an unidentified virus going around which affects the lungs".

Nangia advises elderly patients not to go for early morning walks or outdoor exercise on the worst days. He has also advised schools to start late, but his request has not received any attention by government or local people. In Beijing, municipal authorities close schools on the worst days, a step taken to protect the health of children. It also enlightens people regarding the fact that pollution is a major health hazard and should be taken seriously.

As per a 2012 report, 'The Global Burden of Disease', it was revealed that pollution-related diseases kill 3.2 million people each year all over the world.