Almost entire north India including capital Delhi, were blanketed in a toxic fog the morning after the Hindu festival Diwali, when hundreds of thousands of people in the India celebrated Diwali by setting off crackers and fireworks.
Air quality in the Indian capital Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted cities, is usually very poor due to road dust, open fires, vehicle exhaust fumes, industrial emissions and the burning of crop residues in neighbouring states. India has the world’s highest rate of death from respiratory disease, according to the World Health Organisation, about five times that of the UK and twice that of China. The air in North India remains so polluted throughout the year that it doesn’t really have room for additional pollution during Diwali.
The smog released by the fireworks was worsened by the seasonally cooler temperature and slowing winds, which meant the air doesn’t blow away, and all the pollution that happens inside the city gets trapped at the ground level, very close to our noses.. Fireworks pollute the air with toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, aluminium, cadmium and radioactive barium, etc. Some of these are used to give fireworks their colours. Smoke from fireworks consists of fine toxic dusts that can enter the lungs. Work should be done to produce fireworks that are less harmful to health and the environment.
“Children are uniquely vulnerable to air pollution – due both to their physiology as well as to the type and degree of their exposure,” According to a report. That is because they breathe twice as fast as adults, taking in more air and pollutants which can adversely affect their growth and immune system. According to a report outdoor air pollution in India exceeds nearly six times that of limits considered safe internationally, while more than half of the country’s population still burns solid fuels for cooking and heating, often the causes of ill health and early death in children.
While ozone in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful UV radiation, ozone on the ground level is extremely hazardous to human health. During summer time, the upper air is warm and inhibits vertical circulation causing the smog to worsen. It can build up to highly dangerous levels by staying for extended periods of time over the densely populated areas. It can also travel with the wind and affect the sparsely populated areas.
The emissions from the motor vehicles, industry, paints, solvents and gasoline fumes reacts with the heat of the summer time and forms the ground level ozone of which smog is its main component. So, in short, smog is nothing but a type of air pollution. Smog is very common in cities with sunny, warm, dry climate with a large number of vehicles.
Although, air pollution and smog are something that cannot be stopped, but it can be surely controlled if appropriate steps are taken at an individual level.
Avoid exercising near places with heavy traffic, especially during peak hour. Also, avoid outdoor activities when smog levels are high, especially during the afternoon. If you have a heart/lung condition, consult your doctor about ways to protect your health from smog.
Walk, ride your bicycle or use public transportation instead of your car whenever possible.
With winter setting in, the smog levels in the cities are rising. We must be very careful about not spreading pollution. In Biyani College let us take an oath that we will contribute positively in saving our planet.


Author: Vibha Chaturvedi