The recent smog in New Delhi, India is said to be the worst and most dangerous air pollution ever. Is it just a confluence of coincidental factors and bad timing, or is climate change directly to blame?

Cartwright-I’ll simply defer to my earlier comments regarding climate change. India is a vastly overpopulated country accounting for about one fifth of the world’s total population. They do nothing to help the environment. They are a net negative to the environment. Perhaps they should start population control measures.

Owatonna, MN Correspondent-New Delhi’s reputation as a polluted city has been one of the worst in the world for many years, so the city’s recent toxic smog can’t be blamed solely on a confluence of coincidental factors and bad timing. But neither should it be blamed on climate change directly. Other cities—except for Beijing, China—haven’t made world headlines by suffering an air pollution crisis second to none.

Equal blame should be given to coincidence as well as climate change. The world has been industrialized for more than 150 years, but pollution didn’t become a chronic problem in large cities until the middle of the 20th Century. Even then, only the largest, most industrialized cities like Pittsburgh, or large cities with unique microclimates that trap pollution such as Los Angeles, had severe problems.

Now that much of the world has been industrialized, and our population has ballooned to more than twice what it was fifty years ago, more and more cities are suffering chronic air pollution because they either lack the will or the money to fix the problem. New Delhi may be a figurative canary in a coal mine because it represents the tip of the iceberg as to what may happen to more and more cities ten and twenty years in the future. Their recent crisis should serve as a dire warning to other cities to prepare for the same possibility.

Science has already proven that air pollution doesn’t respect national borders, so air pollution is everyone’s problem. Unless we begin a world-wide effort to remove toxins, carbon, and greenhouse gases from our atmosphere, we’ll see increasing numbers of critical, life-threatening pollution problems around the world. When that happens, coincidence and bad timing will no longer be a factor.

Sheffield, Jamaica Correspondent-As it stands, doctors are urging residents to leave New Delhi because of the current state of affairs. The air is catastrophic to life of any kind. In fact, in 2015 alone, approximately 2.5 million people died because of air pollution.

What is the cause of this dire situation in New Delhi?

I’d like to think it’s a combination of factors. As it is, the world is threatened by climate change. The practices we carry out on a daily basis contribute to this change.

As we innovate and advance technologically, we ruin the atmosphere. New Delhi is no exception. Human practice dictate why the air is so bad.

The very vehicles those Indians drive in New Delhi cause problems. How so? These vehicles emit gases that are hazardous, including carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and greenhouse gases. A staggering 50 – 90 percent of air pollution is attributed to motor vehicle emissions. The very thing we rely on daily to commute intends to kill us.

Fuel burning, whether done at the industry, construction, and residential levels also contributes to air pollution in New Delhi.

Activities conducted within the city is also a contributing factor. About 10,000 tons of municipal waste generated in New Delhi is later burned. This adds particles to the air and contributes to air pollution.

India also has a coal-fired power plant that emits sulfur dioxide. This has contributed as well to the deterioration of the air.

The problem New Delhi now faces was a matter of time. The tide is changing. The atmosphere is being exhausted beyond repair. If we do not minimize the struggle we’ve inflicted on the ozone layer, we’ll have a lot of carcasses to deal with pretty soon, and it won’t only be in New Delhi.

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-I don’t see climate change as to blame for the unbreathable air in New Delhi, just as I don’t blame it for the days in Mexico City where the general public goes about in gas masks or other face coverings meant to protect them from the pollution. New Delhi’s problem is success! The Indian economy is growing at a rapid rate, and factors like increased ownership of automobiles are magnifying what was already a legendary traffic problem. Millions of cars sitting in gridlocks, none of them bearing the benefit of emissions inspections like most U.S. states mandate, belching hydrocarbons into the air like whales clearing their blowholes.

Eventually, just as happened here in the U.S., the government will find the political will to impose emissions restrictions on business and the motoring public, and the problem will begin to be fixed. Until then, the air in New Delhi will be just as breathable as the water in the Ganges is drinkable.

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