Delhi’s Air Quality Crisis: Gasping for Breath as AQI Approaches 400

Parts of Delhi in deep red as Air Quality Index nears 400 mark


In the heart of India, the bustling metropolis of Delhi has been grappling with a critical issue that has far-reaching consequences on its residents’ health and overall well-being. The Air Quality Index (AQI) in several parts of Delhi has surged perilously close to the 400-mark, indicating hazardous levels of air pollution. This alarming situation demands our attention and immediate action. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of this air quality crisis, its impact on the people, and the steps being taken to combat it.

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Understanding the Air Quality Index (AQI)

What is AQI?

Before we dive into the current scenario, let’s understand what the Air Quality Index (AQI) is. The AQI is a standardized system used to determine the quality of air in a specific location. It takes into account various pollutants like particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ground-level ozone (O3). The AQI categorizes air quality into different levels, ranging from “Good” to “Hazardous.”

The Current Situation in Delhi

Crossing the Dangerous Threshold

As of late, several areas in Delhi have been witnessing a disturbing trend. The Air Quality Index in these regions has approached or exceeded the 400-mark, categorizing it as “Hazardous.” This level of air pollution poses severe health risks, especially to vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

Factors Contributing to the Crisis

To comprehend this dire situation better, it’s crucial to identify the factors contributing to the worsening air quality in Delhi. One of the primary culprits is vehicular emissions, particularly from diesel vehicles. The city’s construction activities, industrial emissions, and agricultural residue burning also play significant roles in deteriorating the air quality.

Health Implications

Respiratory Health at Risk

The hazardous air quality in Delhi has immediate and long-term health implications. Short-term exposure to such polluted air can lead to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and eye irritation. Over time, it can cause or exacerbate respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Issues

Air pollution also increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related issues, making it a significant concern for the population.

Government Initiatives and Actions

Odd-Even Rule

To combat the alarming air quality levels, the Delhi government has implemented several measures. The Odd-Even rule, which restricts the movement of vehicles on alternate days based on their license plate numbers, is one such initiative. The objective is to reduce vehicular emissions and traffic congestion.

Promoting Public Transportation

Encouraging the use of public transportation and the adoption of electric vehicles is another strategy. The government is actively investing in improving the city’s public transport infrastructure to make it a viable alternative to private vehicles.


In conclusion, the air quality crisis in parts of Delhi nearing the 400-mark on the AQI is a cause for serious concern. The health of Delhi’s residents, especially the most vulnerable, is at risk due to hazardous air pollution levels. The government is taking proactive measures to address this issue, but collective action and awareness are essential to combat the problem effectively.


1. What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a standardized system used to determine the quality of air in a specific location by considering various pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ground-level ozone.

2. How does air pollution affect health?

Air pollution can lead to a range of health issues, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and exacerbation of pre-existing conditions. It poses the most significant risks to vulnerable populations.

3. What measures is the Delhi government taking to combat air pollution?

The Delhi government has implemented measures such as the Odd-Even rule, promoting public transportation, and encouraging the use of electric vehicles to combat air pollution.

4. Why is vehicular emissions a significant contributor to air pollution in Delhi?

Vehicular emissions, especially from diesel vehicles, are a major contributor to air pollution in Delhi due to the large number of vehicles on the city’s roads.

5. What can individuals do to protect themselves from hazardous air quality?

To protect themselves from hazardous air quality, individuals can use air purifiers, wear N95 masks, limit outdoor activities on days with high pollution, and keep their homes well-ventilated. 

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