Air Quality Index(AQI) is a measure of how polluted or clean the air for a given location is and as an Indian, I am ashamed to admit that we, as common citizens, are at the receiving end. The AQI was at 432 today, 374 yesterday and 302 day before yesterday according to India TV News. AQI above 300 is very poor and above 400 is severe.
Donald Trump on the third Presidential debate with Joe Biden came up with the following quote,” Look at China, how filthy it is…look at India…It’s filthy. The air is filthy.” and I could gauge from Twitter that the real issue was lost on party lines with bipartisan support forthcoming towards politicians.
Let me give you some of the following facts:-
- The AQI in India varies from very poor to severe and coincidentally is also about celebrating the most popular festival in India, Diwali.
- Worldwide deaths due to air-pollution were at 16,700,000 in 2019 according to the 2020 report by State of Global Air.
- 21 out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India where Delhi, where I live, is at number 5.
Vehicular pollution, burning of crackers, industrial pollutants, and farm fires contribute immensely towards the degradation of the air quality. Unfortunately, I have an Air Purifier by Honeywell and it hovers between Red and Orange constantly. Matters are not helped by living next to one of the arterial roads in the city contributing equally towards noise and air pollution.
SAFAR or System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research, a nodal agency for the central government attributed 17% air pollution towards stubble burning. Now, the politicians, unfortunately, cannot put a stop to the workings of their vote bank or for that matter, question them.
We are left at the mercy of the Gods where if the wind speed is high then the AQI improves otherwise we are headed towards a slow and sure EARLY death. I have a three-year-old son and I am not sure how to stop him from playing in the park or venturing in the open when he feels like it, COVID or not.
The paper was littered with substantial portions dedicated to the air pollution levels and this will stay till mid-January at least. Imagine knowing, living, in a gas chamber with no end in sight. Breathing difficulties, eye irritation, and more serious instances of pollutants could be the cause of death in the long run and we are depending on the wind speed to save us. What happened to my RIGHT TO LIFE?