Poor air quality stifles Delhi, Beijing
A competition of a different kind is being observed between India and China in which unfortunately the country which trumps or rather surpasses the other would have a distinction of being the most polluted and the smoggier capital of the world which will not be a matter of pride for its citizens, say experts.
Even though Delhi and Beijing, with its poor air quality are trying to outdo each other, many observers have mentioned that Beijing still takes pollution problem seriously and have adopted harsh measures to improve the quality of its air unlike Delhi which is still not paying heed to the poisonous air its citizens are breathing.
Comparing the air quality of two cities, Anumita Roychowdhury, head of the air pollution and clean transportation programme at Centre of Science and Environment mentioned: “The air qualities of Delhi and Beijing can be segregated into two periods. In the first period, both Delhi and Beijing had similar air qualities and both adopted certain successful measures in terms of Delhi implementing CNG through its public transportation systems and Beijing capping the number of vehicles plying on the roads. In the second period, however, there was lack of urgency seen in tackling Delhi’s air while Beijing is still taking an initiative to improve its air quality.
As most of the pollution of Delhi emanates from diesel vehicular pollution, Roychowdhury stated that from 2003, Beijing had banned the plying of diesel vehicles on its roads.
Citing major causes of pollution in Beijing, Roychowdhury mentioned that a large number of power plants situated in the surrounding areas of Beijing running on coal was polluting Beijing’s air.
Vivek Chattopadhyay of CSE added: “Just like Swachh Delhi app, there is also a requirement of ‘Swachh Air’ app so that citizens are made aware of the harmful air they are breathing.”