Column – English

Who’s to blame for the world’s most polluted capital?

The Times of India

Published on: March 21, 2024

Chandra Bhushan Chandra Bhushan

Delhi’s pollution levels keep rising with rising GRAP restrictions. This plan is only spiking congestion and chaos. Eight years in, it needs replacing with something that actually works.

Even as Delhi was enjoying a rare respite with cleaner air and sunny skies, dropped the news of its being the world’s most polluted capital city. What is needed is to discuss air pollution without falling into the trap of unproductive blame games and futile arguments.

To set the context, the air pollution season of 2023-24, stretching from October 1st to February 29th, was one of the worst in recent memory. It’s average Air Quality Index (AQI) was 304, a notable increase from 280 in 2022-23 and 278 in 2021-22.

Alarmingly, the city witnessed 92 days of ‘very poor’ air quality, compared to 73 in 2022-23 and 67 in 2021-22— nearly 40% increase in the last two years. The question we need to ask is why, despite concerted efforts, the needle on pollution levels is moving in the opposite direction?

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