Air Pollution: The Silent Killer Of India

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India is choking: Air Pollution Stats 2020


Air pollution is a silent killer as the issues based around it are hardly considered by the government and the general audience.


However, the issues related to it are real and pose a serious threat to our existence. Pollutants generated by factories, automobiles, and residential sections of the society have affected the atmosphere adversely. The increase in the generation of pollutants has automatically degraded the human lifestyle.


We all know that air pollution is the reason behind many kinds of diseases. Air pollution leads to health problems like breathing issues, lower immunity, lung cancer, heart strokes, ischaemic heart disease, and many more.


Since air pollution is so deadly, we need to curb it down at any cost.


David Boyd even termed air pollution as a pandemic because it kills as many people as deadly diseases do.  Air pollution affects our health gradually as being exposed to it does not immediately deteriorate and damage our well-being.


However, it can be detrimental to our body and mind in the long run. This is the reason why air pollution is known as a Silent Killer.


The air quality of India is getting poor as the country strives to reach the top of the corporate ladder. India is home to the maximum number of patients that suffer from different types of breathing ailments due to exposure to air pollution.


To showcase the issue of air pollution in India, we have jotted down a certain number of stats and figures to support our claim.

Increase in the Issues Related to Air Pollution in India

From past decades, air pollution is one of the main reasons which is impacting human health. Not only that! additionally it does also cause global warming and other damages

In this section we will explore:-

  • PM 2.5 of top most polluted cities
  • PM 2.5 & PM10 Index
Indian cities with worst air pollution

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India is infamously known as one of the most polluted countries in the world.  And air pollution is one of the most dangerous issues which India is tackling as of today. Let us look at the most air-polluted cities in India.


The most polluted cities in India is Ghaziabad with a PM 2.5 of 235, Noida comes second with a PM 2.5 of 222.6; Delhi with a PM 2.5 of 194.8, Greater Noida with a PM 2.5 of 191.1, Bhanwari with a PM 2.5 of 178.6, and Gurugram with a PM 2.5 of 102.9.


These cities in India have been recorded with one of the worst air qualities in the country. The above data was taken before lockdown in the month of December 2019.

Impact Of Covid-19 On Air Pollution

Level of air pollution during Covid-19 has seen a drastic fell down, the reason was too obvious as this was possible due to the imposition of lockdown all over the country.

In this section we will explore :-

  • Air Pollution level during lockdown. 
  • Air Pollution level after lockdown.
  • Air Pollution level in the month of October.
impact of Covid-19 on air pollution

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PreCovid period saw really bad air quality in few cities of India. This is primarily due to the fact that the country is looking to establish itself as a corporate powerhouse.


Likewise, India is also striving to improve its industrial landscape. However, after the lockdown was introduced, the air quality in many cities showed drastic changes from March 24th to April 14th. 


People were confined to their residential apartments as automobile transportation was completely restricted.


Also because of less industrial activities, there were fewer pollutants in the air. Likewise, pollutants released in the air almost completely stopped. The PM 2.5 and PM 10 of Delhi were reduced to 42.1 and 86, respectively.


Ghaziabad also showed improvement with PM 2.5 of 45.7 and PM 10 of 101.2. Similarly, cities like Noida, Gurugram, and Greater Noida showcased a PM 2.5 of 39.1, 36.5, and 35.8, respectively. 


fter things started to get back to normal, in the month of May, it was observed that the PM 2.5 and PM 10 of Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, and Gurugram had shown a sudden increase. For example, the PM 2.5 of Delhi was recorded to 60.3, whereas the PM 10 was recorded to 173.9.


In Oct 2020, the air quality started degrading as PM 2.5 and PM 10 started rising due to the restarting of industrial activities and the burning of stubble in the North Indian States.


The PM 2.5 and PM 10 of Delhi during this month were 61 and 156 respectively. The PM 2.5 and PM 10 of Ghaziabad increased to 66.1 and 165.6. Similarly, Noida also showed an increase in PM 2.5 and PM 10 of 87 and 161.


The PM 2.5 and PM 10 of Gurugram and Greater Noida have increased to 52.5, 125, and 113.3, 261 respectively. 

Sources Of Air Pollution In India

India is among those countries which are facing air pollution as a serious problem. In India, there are various types of sources which cause this problem, and to tackle this, we must minimize the performance of activities which are given below.

In this section we will explore:

  •  Sources of air pollution.
sources of air pollution

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As we all know, India has a great problem when it comes to air pollution, here we have stated a few primary reasons which contribute to the excess air pollution in the country.


 One of the biggest contributing elements to air pollution is emission from automobiles vehicles. Every year millions of vehicles are sold in the country and this is what is leading to the rise of air pollution.


Other factors that contribute greatly to air pollution are emissions from industries, construction dust, burning of wastes, burning rice field stubble after harvest in North Indian states, thermal power plants, and biomass cooking fuels.


The coal-fired power plants are another cause of air pollution. In India, there are many coal-fired power plants that contribute to air pollution in a major way.


However these plants are responsible for the maximum production of electricity in the country. Hence, due to India‚Äôs such dependency on coal, air pollution is on the rise. 

AQI of the Most Polluted Cities in India From 2017-2020

Delhi and NCR region is always a hotspot for air pollution; it mainly happens due to the excessive industrial activities and extreme climatic conditions that Delhi/NCR have. Since it's been a while for Delhi/NCR to have abnormal level of pollution.

In this section we will explore:

  • Delhi/NCR air pollution level from 2017-2020. 
  • Air Quality Index.
air quality index of 4 most polluted cities over the years

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India being a developing nation, is currently leading the global economy on various levels. Moreover, the nation is densely populated, which, in turn, causes a significant level of pollution. Air Quality Index or AQI is a scale that is used to measure the quality of air within a particular living environment.


Delhi being the capital city, is at the very forefront of this industrial revolution. Likewise, the AQI of Delhi and the regions surrounding the location (NCR) are perhaps the most populated in the country. Delhi registered 367 AQI in October 2017. AQI levels of 367 were recorded on 29 October 2018, 368 AQI on 28 October 2019, and 328 AQI in October 2020.


Regions around Delhi, like Ghaziabad, Noida, and Gurugram, also experienced significant amounts of pollution. Ghaziabad registered 323 AQI in October 2017, 430 AQI in October 2018, 446 AQI on 29 October of 2019, and 324 AQI in October 2020, respectively.


Noida, on the other hand, recorded 402 AQI in October 2017, 374 AQI on 29 October 2018, 356 AQI on 28 October 2019, and 324 AQI in October 2020.


Finally, Gurugram registered 398 AQI in October 2017, 375 in October 2018, 362 in October 2019, and 314 AQI in October 2020.


How To Measure Air Quality?


The universal way to measure air quality is via the US Air Quality Index or more popularly known as AQI. In AQI, a scale of 0-500 is given, where higher the AQI reflects greater the air pollution.


The more the air pollution, the more it is harmful to health. Generally, AQI below 50 signifies that the air quality is good. On the other hand, if the AQI exceeds the 300 mark, then it signifies that the air quality is hazardous.


The AQI is divided into 6 groups, where each group defines how badly the air is polluted. The first group is the green group where the air quality lies in between 0 to 50. In this group, the air quality is considered to be safe and it poses no risk to the health.


Next is the yellow group, where the AQI ranges from 51 to 100.In this group, the air quality is considered to be acceptable and it poses risk to some people who are sensitive to air pollution.


When the AQI ranges from 101 to 150, it falls under the orange group. In this group, people belonging to the sensitive group can face issues and the general public is less likely to be affected.


If the AQI ranges from 151-200, then some people of the general public might be affected. Sensitive group people can experience more serious issues.  AQI between 201-300 can pose a serious health risk for everyone.


Lastly, if the AQI is 301 or higher, then it is termed and treated as danger zone.

Air Pollution: How Does it Affect Your Health?

Air pollution levels cause health impacts on humans. It is estimated that on global level, 4.2 million premature deaths are directly linked to air pollution. Exposure to air pollution creates high risk of health problems in the long term.

In this section we will explore:

  • Health effect of air pollution.
  • Peoples who are more likely to be affected.
health effects of air pollution

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Air pollution not only damages our environment but also affects the health of individuals in the long run. Following are some adverse effects of air pollution on human health:


  • Hair Damage: It is one of the most fundamental issues related to air pollution, as millions of people have faced issues related to hair fall and irritation.
  • Eye and Mucous Membranes: Air pollution causes eye infection and damages the Mucous Membrane in the long run.
  • Fatigue, Headache & Anxiety: Air pollution increases the chances of experiencing anxiety and may hamper mental health. It also triggers extreme levels of headache and increases fatigue levels.
  • Respiratory Damage: One of the most foremost issues related to air pollution is that it causes a wide variety of respiratory illnesses and increases breathing problems in individuals.
  • Cardiovascular Damage: Breathing in polluted air can damage your cardiovascular health.
  • Liver Spleen & Blood Damage: The toxic pollutants present in the air destroy the liver spleen and reduce the creation of fresh RBC.
  • Skin Damage: Constant exposure to polluted air can cause various forms of skin diseases to occur.

The issues related to air pollution affect the elderly, children, and pregnant women the most. Therefore, it is advised to stay indoors as much as possible, especially during the day, to avoid being affected by harmful toxins present in the air.

How to Overcome Issues Related to Air Pollution?

Nowadays, it is mandatory to perform some kinds of activities and use some sort of products which can minimize the level of air pollution and helps you and your family to live a healthy life. We have listed few such points in the infographic and you must follow them.

In this section we will explore:

  • What can we do to minimize the level of pollution
waht can you do

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To overcome the issues related to air pollution, people should look to incorporate plants inside their living apartments. Every individual can contribute by avoiding smoking cigarettes altogether. 


Moreover, it is essential that we stay hydrated at all times as it helps to flush out all the toxins from our body. Relying on a healthy diet is also essential as it gives our overall immunity system a boost.


Following measures should be incorporated to fight the issues related to air pollution:


  • Use Pollution Mask: Wearing anti-pollution masks will stop you from inhaling harmful toxins. These masks are designed to prohibit dust particles and pollutants from entering the human body.
  • Use Air Purifier: Installation of air purifiers can limit the effects of harmful pollutants present in the air.
  • Avoid Outdoor Activities: Limiting outdoor activities, especially during the day, can mitigate the ill-effects of air pollution.
  • Plant Trees: Planting trees is the most sustainable and long term solution to air pollution.

Final Thoughts

Out of all the forms of pollution, air pollution is perhaps the most disregarded. However, the fatality aspect of air pollution is something which we all should consider and take seriously. Immediate measures must be taken such that people can live within a safe and secure environment. 


Every human being should now look to contribute by sustaining a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle. People all around the world should rely on the services of public transport to reduce the emission of toxins into the air.


Us as a society should also look to recycle products and must consider switching over to renewable sources of energy that exerts less pressure on the environment. Reforms should be incorporated by government agencies to encourage limited and sustainable use of natural resources.


Establishing legal standards and measures will help people all around the globe to gain more knowledge about the issues related to air pollution. Likewise, effective solutions can also be incorporated more easily with the assistance of governing authorities.


People should also recognize their responsibilities that we as individuals owe to the environment. Overcoming the ill effects of air pollution can only be achieved if we all are willing to work together. So be sure to incorporate all the standards mentioned above to be protected from the issues of air pollution.

Sources & References

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About The  Author

Editor-in-Chief : Ishant Sharma

Currently working as an Editor in chief with Recommendit, he is managing all the ins and outs of the content management process and editorial operations. Having an experience of 8 years in the publishing/ e-solution industry, he manages a small freelancing team of fellow editors and has worked with several domains including academics, healthcare, lifestyle and technical writings. He is a stickler for accuracy and loves to read noir-fiction and binge-watch anthologies. Know more about Ishant



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