Delhi, India, one of the largest cities in the world, was blanketed in the first week of November by some of its worst air quality ever.
The city and its surroundings, a metro area home to nearly 28 million people, have become notorious in recent decades for their unhealthy air pollution, especially at least a few months every year when the average air quality is considered unhealthy for humans. Not only does the burning of fossil fuels for power, transportation and industry feed this pollution year-round, but every fall farmers in rural areas burn off part of their fields, causing an increase in smoke above the already unhealthy norm. This month smog levels in and around the city reached an air quality index reading of 350 on November 7, with anything over 300 labelled hazardous. Schools were closed and the city restricted motor vehicle use and construction work for the upcoming week in the hope of mitigating the worst of the pollution. And Delhi isn’t the only Indian city with this problem; of the 50 most polluted cities on Earth, more than half are in India!
Although India has the misfortune to be at the top of the list, people everywhere are threated by climate catastrophe. This crisis is the product of the intense drive for profit by the world’s wealthiest individuals and corporations. Unless we rid ourselves of these destructive profit seekers, the people of India and all of the world will continue to suffer the consequences of their fossil fuel driven economy.