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15 November 2008

Hazy days in Delhi

Smog in Delhi

From my apartment in Gurgaon

SMOG GREETED me in Delhi this week, and it's bad. At 10:30 AM, the new expressway from the Indira Gandhi International Airport to the satellite city of Gurgaon is barely visible. This afternoon, I was sneezing the entire hour that I was at the Dilli Haat crafts market in central New Delhi. And as I type this post in the airport, the PAs are blaring delayed schedules of flight departures due to poor ramp visibilities.

It’s no surprise that today’s Hindustan Times (HT) announces the dubious honor that New Delhi has just received as one of Asia’s 13 top polluting cities. HT refers to a just-released report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that while “atmospheric brown cloud” (a layer of burning fossil fuel mixed with noxious soot, fumes, and other air pollutants) is a global phenomenon, Asia’s levels are quite higher because of its highly diversified climate. In Delhi, the air pollution comes from the lack of an efficient public transport system that curbs the increase in the number road vehicles.

By the way, Mumbai and Kolkata also figure in the UNEP list. Manila doesn't. Read the report on the UNEP site.

Related Story: Pollution fears over Delhi smog

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