Precis Writing on Menace of Pollution in Delhi

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The Capital city with its slum and polluting industries, is plagued by all sort of environmental degradation, says a report.

Continuous migration of people into Delhi, whose population has already crossed the nine million marks, has strained the existing infrastructure within the city to the point of no return, "says the report by A.K. Lai, the planning engineer at the environmental planning division of town and country planning organisation here.”The 1,100 slum clusters, 94,000 industrial unit, over 22 lakh vehicles and 4,400 metric tones of municipal solid wastes have thrown the city's environmental health out of gear, Lai reported in the Indian Journal of environmental Protection.

The most serious problem is air pollution with Delhi ranked fourth among 41 polluted cities monitored worldwide. As estimated 1280 tonnes of pollutants are emitted by 22 Lakh vehicles, and vehicular pollution accounts for more than two thirds of Delhi's total air pollution Almost two lakh vehicles are added in Delhi each year, two thirds of them being two wheelers, Lai reports says. The vehicles are major source of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydro carbons.

The next major contributor to the city's air pollution are the industries with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) having already identified five major and 22,000 significantly polluting industries in the capital. The prime source of pollution includes thermal power plants, brick kilns, potteries, steel rolling mills and induction furnace. Data collected between 1988 and 1993 indicates that the suspended particulate matter (SPM) usually exceeds permissible limits, the report says. Studies from 1987 to 1993 also show that particulate lead level have exceeded that limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) at some busy intersections in the Capital.

Air pollution caused especially by emission of poisonous gases such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and lead oxide, has been linked to lung cancer, asthma and bronchitis. In fact, four out of every five cancers are linked to toxic and hazardous chemicals in the environment. Nitrogen oxides emitted by vehicles are respiratory irritants that cause breathing problem, while sulphur dioxide and suspended particulate matter (SPM) damage lung function. SPM also affects larynx, brain, liver, kidney and stomach. Increasing lead pollution from industries and automobiles can cause cancer. On inhalation, lead can be absorbed in the brain, liver, kidneys and blood leading to brain damage, muscle paralysis, convulsions and even death.

Delhi is facing formidable problems of water pollution and sewage disposal too. The Yamuna picks up nearly 1,800 millions liters daily (MLD) of domestic and industrial waste waters, while only three quarters of the city are covered by sewage facilities. Majority of Delhi is unauthorized and resettlement colonies and squatters settlements do not have a sewage system, while about 40 percent of Delhi's sewage is discharged into the Yamuna without treatment, the report says.

The city is also ridden with noise pollution caused by automobiles, railways, aircraft, industrial machines, public address system and social and religious activities. A recent study by CPCB has shown that noise level in several industries and commercial areas were higher than the stipulated, levels. However, the most disturbing trend was in silence ones where noise levels exceeded permissible limits not only during day but also night.


Delhi is over burdened by continuous migration of people. This migration has caused serious air, water and noise pollution. Air pollution is caused by slums, lead emitted by over 22 Lakh vehicles and suspended particulate material emitted by 94,000 industrial units. Water pollution is also at its worst that is caused by 40% of Delhi's sewage that is discharged without treatment in the Yamuna. Noise pollution is caused by automobiles, industrial machines etc. All this go to make Delhi one of the 4th most polluted city among 41 cities in the world.