Why are some Indian cities so dirty

India pollutes itself to death

In the gigantic Asian empire, the air is becoming more and more toxic. In the capital Delhi, life expectancy would be nine years longer if WHO guidelines were adhered to.

The eyes burn, the throat scratches, the tongue feels covered, and the view is only a few hundred meters. A morning stroll on Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai's iconic boardwalk, often turns into a misty no-man's-land stroll in November. The relevant app rates the air pollution that morning as “excessive”. It's smog season in India.

Shampoo against dirty air

In Mumbai, the southern Indian megalopolis, you can comfort yourself with the fact that the pollution in other cities has already reached completely different dimensions. The annual average concentration of fine dust in Delhi is eight to ten times above the limit value of the World Health Organization (WHO), on peak days the pollution increases thirty times - with far-reaching consequences for the population: According to a study by the University of Chicago these days has presented, residents of the capital would live nine years longer if WHO guidelines were observed. On the world ranking list of cities with the dirtiest air, there are 14 Indian cities in the first 20 places. A trend reversal is not in sight. The measured values ​​are climbing at a rapid pace, including in Kolkata and Mumbai. The WHO blames the toxic cocktail for heart and respiratory diseases, high blood pressure and even cancer.

There are many reasons for this: The economic boom is causing more and more cars to force their way onto India's congested streets. Then wild landfills burn huge amounts of waste, releasing toxic substances. In addition, construction takes place almost around the clock in India's cities. This creates tons of dust. In the literal sense of the word, farmers are also fueling environmental pollution. They torch their fields every fall. The north of India suffers the hardest, as the dirt accumulates in front of the Himalayas. Not surprisingly, Nepal also fares dramatically poorly in an international comparison.

In view of the massive increase in air pollution, the Indian central government has now for the first time provided funds for an awareness campaign aimed at encouraging farmers to rethink. And the Supreme Court has banned particularly harmful firecrackers, which are shot into the sky millions of times during religious festivals. Coal-fired power plants have been shut down around Delhi and traffic restrictions apply on certain days. However, non-governmental organizations consider the set of measures to be inadequate. Too late and too hesitant, so the tenor.

Meanwhile, India's upper class is bunkering in their residences during the smog season and installing air filters. Resourceful dealers also sell all kinds of remedies against the toxic air: from an allegedly useful protective cream to a special shampoo. Those who can afford it fly to the tourist paradise of Goa, where a pleasant breeze blows. The wealthy come to terms with smog, for the poor it is a luxury problem.

Progress in china

So while India continues to pollute itself, authoritarian China has achieved noticeable improvements with a radical “war on pollution campaign”. According to the American study, pollution from harmful particles has been reduced by a third in four years in four large cities. In Beijing, emissions fell by 20 percent within a year. In India, it seems, the level of suffering is not yet great enough.