India, China Very Polluted As Seen From Space: Astronaut Kelly

Kelly was able to see 200 cities in China for the first time in his one year in space on a 2015 summer day.

2 min read
India as seen from space. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="">@StationCDRKelly</a>)

December 2nd marks National Pollution Control Day in India. Every year, more than a million people die of pollution-related reasons across the country. Air pollution is one of the biggest culprits.

Astronaut Scott Kelly, who has the distinction of having spent a year in the space, has said that the level of pollution in China and India is shocking.

“Seeing places like China and India, and the pollution that exists there almost all the time is quite shocking,” Kelly said in a brief media appearance with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday.

He said that in 2015, on a summer day, he saw the eastern side of China from space, which was perfectly clear, which he had not seen in his one year in space. With over 200 cities and over a million people, he was able to see them at dusk, which was shocking, he said.

I didn’t really understand it until the next day I heard that the Chinese government had turned off a lot of the coal-producing power plants, stopped the cars from running in that part of the country for this national holiday, and the sky had completely cleared.

“So it's interesting to see just how much of a negative impact we have on the environment, but also how quickly we can have a positive impact on it if we decide/ Not to mention the atmosphere is very very thin and scary-looking when you see it from space,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

(On this National Pollution Control Day, we bring you a series of pieces about the state of pollution in India. This piece was originally published on 22 October.)

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