1. Introduction1.1 The Great Smog
“The Great Smog in Delhi” is an ongoing severe air-pollution
event in New Delhi and adjoining areas in the National Capital Territory of
India. Air pollution at this time peaked on both PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels. It
has been reported as one of the worst levels of air quality in Delhi since
Low visibility has resulted in accidents across the city,
notably a 24 vehicle pile-up on the Yamuna Expressway and also led to
cancellation and delay of public transport, primarily trains and flights, causing
much hindrance to the people.
1.2 Sources of pollution
The current majority of analysis sources are hinting towards
colder weather, stagnant winds trapping the various sources of smoke. The
primary sources of smoke are stubble burning, lit garbage, road dust, power
plants, factories, and vehicles.
Air quality can be measured by the amount of PM 2.5 and PM 10
particulates suspended in air. On Nov 7, 2017 the PM 2.5 levels in Delhi shot
up to 999, much above the recommended 60 micrograms. At the same time PM 10
shot to 999 (the maximum level for the monitors), instead of the recommended
limit of 100.
Again on 8 November 2017 the PM 2.5 levels shot up to 449
(recommended is 60 micrograms). At the same time PM 10 shot to 663.
1.3 Incident and
During the second day of third test of Sri Lankan cricket
team in India in 2017-18 at Delhi, smog forced Sri Lanka cricketers to stop
play and wear anti-pollution masks. Cricketer Lahiru Gamage reported to have
shortness of breath. Nic Pothas, coach of Sri Lankan cricket team, reported
that cricketer Suranga Lakmal had vomited regularly due to severe pollution
effect on the Delhi ground. There was a halt age of play between 12:32 pm to
12:49 pm which caused Indian coach Ravi Shastri to come out in an aggressive
manner and have a talk with the field umpire David Boon.
A Health Emergency was declared in capital by the Central
Government of India in order to cope with the extrusive amount of polluted air.
The day was declared as a holiday for Schools, offices and other government
1.4 Health effects and control measures taken by the government
The government of Delhi has declared a health advisory as the
public is seen suffering from the following health issues:
Irritation in eyes
The Chief Minister of Delhi has come up with the following
proposed action items to attempt to reduce the air pollution:
Closing the schools
for that specified period of time.
Shutting down of all
the construction and demolition work for a certain specified period of time.
Banning all the diesel
generator sets for the specified period, except at hospitals and in
Shutting down of the
coal-based Badarpur power plant for ten days resulting in the prohibition of
the fly ash transportation from the power plant.
Launching of an app
by the Environment Department to monitor the burning of leaves.
Vacuum cleaning of
Water sprinkling on
all roads for the next following days.
Longer term measures
On November 25,
2016, the Supreme Court of India banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi to
In another measure,
the Badarpur power plant was ordered to remain shut until at least January 31,
2018. This power plant is very old and polluting, and even before the Great
Smog, environmentalists had advocated for its permanent shutdown.
1.5 What this research proposal will help us understand?
This report provides an evidence-based insight into the
status of air pollution in Delhi and its effects on health and control measures
instituted. Vehicular emissions and
industrial activities were found to be associated with indoor as well as
outdoor air pollution in Delhi. Studies on air pollution and mortality from
Delhi found that all-natural-cause mortality and morbidity increased with
increased air pollution. Delhi has taken several steps to reduce the level of
air pollution in the city during the last 10 years. However, more still needs
to be done to further reduce the levels of air pollution.
2. Literature review2.1 Articles Considered:
Smog 2012: Cause and Concerns by George MP, Jasmine Kaur B, Ashish Sharma and
2. How Delhi became the
most polluted city on Earth by Umair Irfan
The concerns regarding the quality of air
in Delhi has not been something new, but has been doing rounds for the last
couple of years if not more. On 8th Nov, 2017 various monitoring
systems reported a reading of 1,010 which is over 6.5 times the acceptable limit
of 150. Rapid urbanization followed by the influx from neighboring states has
been one of the major causes to this issue. Eminent personalities have resorted
to the use of social media platforms to raise their concerns on this issue. But
with the Chief Minister himself calling the city a gas chamber, we can pretty
much conclude that things have gotten out of hand.
The recent episodes of Sri Lankan cricket
players fielding with protective masks on at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Costa Rica’s ambassador to India, Mariela Cruz Alvarez,
describing in a viral blog post how she developed a
serious respiratory infection and had to decamp to South India, United Airlines
cancelling its operations to the capital, the numerous viral videos of cars
involved in pileups on highways, trains getting delayed –all of which were had
poor visibility cited as the reason throws light at how we have been
inefficient in dealing with such a grave situation even with so much of
advancement in the field of technology.
Based on sample data obtained from the
air monitoring systems installed at the following three locations:
1. Mandir Marg
2. Punjabi Bagh
3. R. K. Puram,
We have real time values for PM10, PM2.5,
NO2, SO2, CO, NH3 and O3 available with us. The locations of the sites are such
that there are no major industrial sources located within 5 km around the site.
air monitoring readings are as seen below:
Delhi’s topography also acts as a basin
that traps pollution — making it impossible for the millions of people in the
region to escape the toxic air. Turns out this oppressive smog is a pungent
combination of an ancient farming technique and the residues of modern urban
living. Much of the pollution is coming from farms in nearby states of Punjab,
Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh. With the rice harvest over, farmers
are burning crop stubble — specifically the remnants of the
rice crop to prepare the fields to plant wheat and return nutrients to the
soil. But what’s unique about Delhi’s smog is
that the smoke from the burning outside the city is mixing with pollution
inside the city — from construction, vehicles, and fires the poor use to cook
and keep warm. This mix of rural and urban pollution intensifies in the cooler
winter months and this year’s air currents through the region have been
unusually slow, allowing the dirty air to linger.
Whatever may be the cause, the fact of
the matter still remains that we cannot solely hold the Government responsible
for this issue. Although the approach followed by them is a reactive one, but
instead of politicizing the issue, holding countless protests etc., providing
active cooperation is the only way out of this situation. Failure to do so will
only result in the capital city being put on the world map for the all wrong
in Delhi: Its Magnitude and Effects on Health by SA Rizwan, Baridalyne
Nongkynrih, Sanjeev Kumar Gupta
The most elaborate and effective study
for examining the effect of the pollutants on the health of the citizens was
conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in the year 2008 where the
findings were compared with a rural control population in West Bengal.
The findings were pretty shocking as it
was revealed that Delhi had 1.7-times higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms
(in the past 3 months) compared with rural controls (P < 0.001); the odds ratio of upper respiratory symptoms in the past 3 months in Delhi was 1.59 (95% CI 1.32-1.91) and for lower respiratory symptoms (dry cough, wheeze, breathlessness, chest discomfort) was 1.67 (95% CI 1.32-1.93). Metaplasia and dysplasia of airway epithelial cells were more frequent in Delhi, and Delhi had the greater prevalence of several cytological changes in sputum. Besides these, non-respiratory effects were also seen to be more in Delhi than in rural controls. The prevalence of hypertension was 36% in Delhi against 9.5% in the controls, which was found to be positively correlated with respirable suspended particulate matter (PM 10) level in ambient air. Delhi had significantly higher levels of chronic headache, eye irritation and skin irritation. Study and year Variable Findings Siddique et al., 2011 Rajarathnam et al., 2011 Kumar et al, 2008 Kulshreshtha et al., 2O08 Jayaraman, 2008 Nidhi et ai., 2007 Kumar, 2007 Agarwal et al., 2006(12) Pande et al., 2002 Vehicular air pollution effects in children Outdoor air Indoor air pollution Indoor air Outdoor air Outdoor air Indoor air pollution Outdoor air Outdoor air Ambient PM1O level was positively correlated with ADHD in children (OR = 2.07;95% Cl, 1.08—3.99) It was found that every 10 ?g/m3 change in PM10 was associated with 0.15% increase in total all-natural-cause mortality Indoor SO2, NO2 and suspended particulate effects in children matter levels were high in houses with family history of smoking. Indoor air pollution was associated with respiratory function of children. High levels of indoor airborne pollutants during winter were associated with respiratory problems for women and children. 10 ?g/rn3 rise in pollutant level led to statistically significant relative risks (RR) for respiratory morbidity: 1.033 for O3, 1.004 for NO2, 1.006 for RSPM The relative risks of hospitalization due to respiratory diseases were 1.07—2.82 Indoor SPM level was also significantly effects in children higher in homes of children with a history of respiratory illness SPM (r = 0.474: P <0.01) and RSPM (r = 0.353: P <0.05) showed a significant positive correlation with the number of COPD cases. Winter months had higher risk Emergency room visits for asthma, COAD and acute coronary events increased by 21.30%, 24.90% and 24.30%, respectively, due to higher than acceptable levels of air pollutants Control Measures instituted by the Government of Delhi Vehicular Policy · Control measures so far instituted include introduction of unleaded petrol (1998), catalytic converter in passenger cars (1995), reduction of sulfur content in diesel (2000) and reduction of benzene content in fuels (2000). · Others include construction of flyovers and subways for smooth traffic flow, introduction of Metro rail and CNG for commercial transport vehicles (buses, taxis, auto rickshaws), phasing out of very old commercial vehicles, introduction of mandatory "Pollution Under Control" certificate with 3-month validity and stringent enforcement of emission norms complying with Bharat Stage II/Euro-II or higher emission norms. Industrial Policy · It is a comprehensive document envisioning higher industrial development in Delhi, with one of its mandates being to develop clean and non-polluting industries and details of steps to be undertaken in this direction have been described. The other organizations that work synergistically with the government efforts to reduce air pollution are Centre for Science and Environment and The Energy and Resources Institute, and the Indian Association for Air Pollution Control. · Representatives of the industries include Confederation of Indian Industry and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. · Research and academic institutions include National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Indian Institute of Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research institutions, Indian Agricultural Research Institute and various other academic institutions in and around Delhi. Professional organizations like the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Indian Institute of Engineers are also involved in pollution control. 2.3 Articles Considered: Air Pollution in Delhi, an Analysis by ENVIS Centre EPCB The alteration in composition of air by any means is referred to as air pollution. The paper basically revolves around talking about the analysis of various causes and effects of air pollution in Delhi. The major sources of pollution can be classified as either natural or anthropogenic. Further the air pollutants such as Sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon-monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), and ozone (O3) can be kept in following category of classification · On the basis of source of origin. · On the basis of method of origin. · On the basis of chemical composition. · On the basis of state of matter. Considering the serious impact of air pollution in Delhi a national air quality monitoring program me (NAMP) has been started back in 1984 under which there are 10 monitoring stations functioning in Delhi. Moreover, under the NAMP, three major pollutants viz. Sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and particulate matter (PM10) have been identified for regular monitoring at all the locations. To improve the air quality management system, there is a need of knowing the particular source of pollution and its quantitative contribution to the ambient air quality. This can be done through the source apportionment study. There are two ways of doing it: 1. A top-down approach starting with monitoring of pollution. 2. A bottom-up approach starting with the activity data. In Delhi the air quality monitoring is done either manually as in areas like Sarojini Nagar, Chandni Chowk, Mayapuri Industrial Area, Pritampura, Shahadra, Shahzada Bagh, Nizamuddin, Janakpuri or else through continuous ambient air quality monitoring station situated at Anand Vihar, Civil Lines, DCE, Dilshad Garden, Dwarka, IGI Airport, ITO, Mandir Marg, Punjabi Bagh, R.K. Puram, and Shadipur across the city. Data extracted from these stations can be used to determine the air quality index (AQI) on real time basis and spread awareness. As per the AQI bulletin (January 2016), PM2.5 is the prominent pollutant in Delhi and neighboring areas which continuously exceeds the standard. Apart from this the pollution in Delhi is a climate induced phenomenon as Delhi is located in the subtropical belt with extremely scorching summers, moderate rainfall, and chilling winters so pollution patterns also vary during different seasons rainy season being the least polluted due to dust suspension. Initiatives for improving the air quality · An initiative (on trial basis) has been taken by Govt. of NCT of Delhi to curb the air pollution by applying 'Odd-even scheme' on the 4-wheelers plying on the roads (exempting a few) from Jan. 1 st – 15th and Apr. 15th – 30th , 2016.However an unclear trend was observed in it. · Various court directions has been given regarding prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and improvement of ambient air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). · Prohibition on entry of overloaded and non-destined trucks in Delhi and imposition of 'Green Tax'. · The Delhi Government has launched car-free day campaign 'Ab Bus Karein' since 22nd October 2015 to be observed on 22nd day of every month. · Pollution under control (PUC) certificate with three month validity is introduced. · Time clocks installations at red lights. · Metro rail transit system for rapid mass transport is introduced. Some recommendations · Emission from construction industries / activities can be minimized by adopting best practices. · Restrictions may be imposed over the number of vehicles owned by an/a individual/family. · Corporate firms/ government offices may draw up an action plan to have bus/cab service for their employees with reasonable rates. · Up-gradation of public transport is necessary by improving service quality, enhancing the number of buses, and better road management. 2.4 Articles Considered Photochemistry of Air Pollution in Delhi, India by Dr. Sarath Guttikund This research paper talks about monitoring based analysis of Delhi pollution. Table 1 represents the national ambient air quality in india Particulates i.e. PM is the most important factor among pollutants as it is causing human respiratory diseases and also in some cases premature deaths. This is happening mostly due to industrial activities, transport, summer dust, wind erosion. Also the contents which are present highly in air of Delhi are Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen oxide and mainly carbon monoxide which is harmful for human body. Carbon monoxide and Sulphur dioxide is mainly due to combustion of coal and diesel which leads to ground level ozone pollution and photochemical conditions. Impact of ozone pollution is mainly in rush hours i.e. mostly in the morning. Below figure represents typical smog conditions which had affected agricultural land as well as respiratory diseases to people due to transport. According to monitoring analysis in Ghaziabad area which consists of industries the pollutants which are responsible for production and destruction ozone are PM2.5, NOx, BTX (not presented), and CO. These chemicals have standard values and Delhi is exceeding this standard value which is affecting ozone and this is particularly worse in winter season. The pollution measured in winter is at least double compared to rest of the seasons. Following graphs provide a distinction between summer which is represented by dark spots and non-summer months The CO concentrations are also sourced to the chemical conversion of VOCs via photochemistry and the fraction of the PM also originates from the chemical conversion of SO2 and NOx emissions. The fractional analysis of the secondary contributions is not presented in this paper. The photo part refers to the fact that the energy of sunlight is required for ozone production, and the chemical part refers to the fact that chemical reactions are involved. Oxidant is included because ozone is an oxidant, chemically. Hence an enhanced formation of ozone observed at the sunrise, sustained production through the day, and destruction following the sunset. Ozone is produced in a cycle of reactions involving two basic pollutants NOx and VOCs, however the photochemical process is interlinked and complex. The above figure represents the photochemistry of the environment pollution. 2.5 Articles Considered: Present scenario of air quality in Delhi: a case study of CNG implementation 1. Introduction Delhi, the capital city of India, is one of the10 most polluted cities of the world and the third most populated City in India with 13.8 million in habitants spread over1483km (Anejaetal., 2001).The population density has increased in last 10years from 6352 per km2 in 1991 ton early 9500 per km2 in2000.Its length of 51.9km and width of 48.5km gives it a circular structure. The steep increase in vehicular population has resulted in corresponding increase in pollutants emitted by these vehicles. 2. Air pollution problem in Delhi CPCB points out that the three main thermal power plants use electrostatic precipitators. The emission is controlled. There might be a bit of particulate matter and oxides of sulphur that are released into the air but the problem of pollution from thermal power emission is not acute. Industrial emissions too are not alarming, CPCB claims. It is the vehicular pollution, both diesels as well petrol-induced, which continues to be the major problem for the capital, which has the highest number of automobiles in the country. 3. CNG implementation in Delhi It was not easy in Delhi to implement the Supreme Court order to use CNG as a fuel in vehicles. Before this implementation there was a detailed study made on how other countries have implemented this, which shows that it was a success. Here are some of the advantages regarding implementation of CNG: · Lesser running cost. · Reduction of carbon monoxide emission by over 90%. · Improves fuel consumption and engine efficiency. · Reduction in engine noise levels significantly owing to its high octane number. Disadvantages, although few are: · Increased exhaust-valve wear in CNG-operated vehicles are anticipated due to the drying effect of the gaseous fuel. · Limited service availability in Delhi. · High cost of conversion of vehicle to CNG mode. In the present study, an assessment of particulates, CO, NOX and SO2 levels in the ambient air of Delhi, by using CNG in public transportation in the year 2001, has been made, which, in general, shows the decreasing trend of pollutants concentrations. The Supreme Court order of conversion of diesel by CNG in buses, three wheelers and taxis, however, was most difficult to implement especially in such a situation, when biased expert comments was flaunted to discredit the move to bring in CNG. However to implement CNG as fuel in Delhi there should be a feasibility study carried out so that people know it's positive effects and are willing to adopt it as a fuel in near future.