What is the root cause of winter pollution in Delhi?

We can’t deny the fact that Delhi has been witnessing winter pollution or smog every year for the last decade. It is alarming because many people die and suffer from lung problems during this time of the year. The air quality index goes up to 500, which is beyond healthy AQI. It is concerning for the residents as well as animals in the ecosystem. The root cause is said to be stubble burning or crop residue burning by farmers. This accounts for almost 42 percent of Delhi’s pollution. Other factors are Diwali, the festival of light when people burst crackers in unfathomable numbers, and also the vehicles on the road and industrial pollution.

What can be done to uproot this pollution that occurs every year? Well, the government is taking measures where farmers are instructed not to burn the stubble. Instead, they have been asked to find a way that could be used in destroying the residue. The government has also tried imposing fines but nothing has helped much.

What measures should be taken?

• The government has already started imposing fines to farmers burning stubble despite learning about the deteriorating air quality.

• Subsidized machinery to help in making use of the crop residue after harvesting should be provided.

• Promotions should be upscaled in making use of the crop residue by industries for other benefits.

• Construction sites should make use of equipment or precautions that can help stop the materials from being blown into the air during the construction process.

• Vehicles should be banned that are too old and have exceeded their validity. Apart from this, an odd and even system, like in many other countries, can help curb vehicle-related pollution too.

• Bursting of crackers is considered auspicious in Hindu tradition; however, nothing can come between the environment and the well-being of living beings. Therefore, curbing the use of crackers can also go a long way in reducing the impact on the quality of air.

While these are the various measures that the government can take, as responsible human beings, we must also make changes to our lifestyle and help in controlling the air pollution in Delhi, at least by creating awareness of the impact of this highly polluted air in our health.