Here’s a 3-Step Guide For Getting Through Delhi’s Smog Problem

The Indicus Foundation report identifies six root causes to the pollution that has enveloped the Delhi-NCR region.

Updated
India
3 min read
Delhi and its surrounding regions have been cloaked in a deathly smog over the past 10 days, posing a huge health and safety hazard. Image used for representational purposes.
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A Delhi-based think tank named the Indicus Foundation has released a report called 'Fixing Delhi's Pollution', which says the worsening smog in the capital can be curbed using a three-pronged solution.

There are three kinds of solutions – substitute, stop or clean – and where substitution is possible and the incentives are in sync with the objective, it is the most preferred method.

The report recommends that the Delhi government incentivise the substitution of paddy crops with other crops – such as pulses or vegetables – to reduce the emission from crop burning, as these crops do not leave stubble behind after harvest.

The report also states that the government should hold the local police and authorities liable for being unable to curb crop and waste burning in areas under their jurisdiction.

At the same time, the report states that banning crop burning will not only not work, it will also end up alienating farmers. It notes that banning an activity with economic gains without finding a substitute will only lead to losses.

The report identifies six root causes to the pollution that has enveloped the Delhi-NCR region:

  • Crop burning
  • Vehicular pollution
  • Coal and fly ash
  • Soil and road dust
  • Industrial construction
Here’s a 3-Step Guide For Getting Through Delhi’s Smog Problem
Here’s a 3-Step Guide For Getting Through Delhi’s Smog Problem
Here’s a 3-Step Guide For Getting Through Delhi’s Smog Problem

Besides recommending fighting pollution through the three-pronged approach, the report also suggests some lifestyle changes. While admitting that lifestyle changes are difficult to incorporate, it observed that they do not always fail.

According to a TOI report, Indicus Foundation offers some practical solutions to the pollution problem, based on data sourced from various other studies. Speaking to the daily, Laveesh Bhandari, the head of the foundation had said:

Solutions exist, they require coordination among governments. The experience of other countries shows that such coordination is possible.
As told to TOI

Gulf Dust Storm Also to Blame

While crop burning is to blame for the pollution to some extent, the 'multi-day dust storm' in the Gulf could have had a bigger role to play than earlier anticipated, a study revealed.

The study, conducted jointly by the System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research and India Meteorological Department, says that 40% of pollution on 8 November, when the air quality was ranked at 'severe', was caused by the gulf storm while crop burning had a 25% share of blame.

According to the Indian Express, the report said:

There was a large multi-day dust storm that emerged in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the last week of October 2017 and continued up to 3 and 4 November. This dust storm was carried by relatively cool winds.

The Indian Express also cites an earlier study from the National Physical Laboratory which found that pollutants from the Middle East could affect the air quality in Delhi due to the North Westerly winds.

(Breathe In, Breathe Out: Are you finding it tough to breathe polluted air? Join hands with FIT in partnership with #MyRightToBreathe to find a solution to pollution. Send in your suggestions to fit@thequint.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335)

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