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How bad is the air pollution in India?

Author: We The Expats
2 Minutes

How bad is the air pollution in India?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Very soon, I will be moving to India for two years on a solar project; however, after I was made aware of the poor air quality in India, I am little skeptical. Is India really extremely polluted to live in? I am fond of going out to parks and walking.”


The National Capital Region is home to many, and even though it is known to have the worst pollution rate, the residents are always hopeful for better days. The pollution season typically begins in October and persists for months. The air pollution rate is at its peak from November and December. According to WHO, Delhi is one of the most polluted metropolitan cities in the world. There are numerous causes to that such as vehicle exhaust, construction dust, industrial emissions, crop burning in nearby states— and is exacerbated by geographic factors.

Most expats living in Delhi wait for the situation during these times to get better only to find it getting worse. The best possible solution for expats and the residents is to leave the city temporarily during these times for a cleaner and less toxic environment. However, the government has begun taking some precautionary measures to combat pollution such as shutting down the schools, closure of all construction activities. They introduced stricter fuel norms so that new vehicles are far cleaner. The government provided cooking gas cylinders to various homes to try and reduce the high use of biomass cooking fuels as they remain to be the highest source of pollution. They also sought to expand renewable energy such as solar power to try and help the high and rapid demand of power. A ban on the burning of crops was implemented as agriculture burning in neighbouring areas amounts to half the pollution of the city.

A primary reason for air pollution is due to vehicular emissions, and hence the government introduced an odd-even car rationing drive. This turned out to be a massive success and brought significant change in reducing traffic congestion which in turn brought upon a positive impact on pollution.

People tend to take a few precautions from their end too. If affordability permits, numerous people wear face masks upon going out, invest in air purifiers for their homes and often leave the city when feasible. But not everyone agrees and conforms to these measures. There have been times when people find it safer to take the leap, sacrifice and move away, quitting their jobs and leaving behind their family and friends for cleaner air.

So as an expat living or moving to India, it is important to remember and follow the weather forecast and try to wear masks during the times you are out of your homes. A weekend getaway is always desirable and can be an excellent way to get away from the pollution of Delhi.

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