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New Delhi: Most Polluted City on Earth Right Now, NASA Explains Truth Behind Smog

Nov 08, 2016 06:49 AM EST
Delhi Schools Close Due To Extreme Levels Of AIr Pollution
New Delhi is considered as the most polluted city in the world today, after the Diwali festival. However, there is a much deeper cause of the air pollution in the area.
(Photo : Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Air pollution in New Delhi is nothing new, but recent data by NASA pointed out New Delhi is the most polluted city in the world today.

New Delhi is considered the most polluted city in the world today reaching five times more than the unhealthy limit of the air quality index as set by the U.S. government. Some reports say that the recently concluded Diwali festival might have contributed to the capital's pollution level, but the fact that there is a deeper cause of pollution in India could not be denied. During the festival of lights also known as the Diwali Festival, New Delhi was covered in smog with poor visibility due to smoke and a deteriorating air quality index. The index reached an alarming level that also alerted climate change experts worldwide.

Locals burn a good amount of crackers during Diwali; some argue this alone caused the smog. But New Year is also a season where firecrackers were lit but did not entail such drastic effect. After further studying, it was revealed in NASA images that the major cause of the smog in India is the excessive burning of crops near New Delhi including Punjab and Haryana. The burning of crops yields pollution that drastically decreases the air quality in neighboring places such as New Delhi.

In fact, the air in New Delhi refuses to clear, which means an occasional Diwali festival should not be blamed for the perennial pollution in the area. Reports say that NASA pointed the fire and anomalies in Punjab and some areas in Pakistan. There is a recorded amount of 32 million tons of straw being burned by farmers in the area.

The root of the pollution could be deeper than what is previously thought. The farming practice has been around for ages even though the government has already suggested greener alternatives that will eliminate the burning of crops.

In a report by Mashable, the air quality in India reached more than 15 times the limit set by the government at 943 AQI PM2.5. The extremely tiny particles found in the air can be threatening to the local's health since it is so small, it can easily lodge into the lungs causing severe respiratory ailments.

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi recorded the city's air quality index at 999 last Monday. The hazardous level starts at 500.

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