New Delhi: Delhi and Beijing are once again at loggerheads where the growing pollution levels have become a subject of a rather avoidable 'show and tell'.
While Beijing has been suffocating under alarming proportions of toxic air, the air quality in Delhi is gradually reaching choking point.
Due to the monsoon season, the rising pollution levels let up a bit, but the change in season has pushed the air quality from bad to worse as we inched towards the end of September.
According to a report in the Times of India (TOI), on Monday evening, aqicn.org - an agency monitoring air quality in more than 60 countries - reported that PM2.5 had reached 180 micrograms in Delhi's Dwarka area. Around the same time, the average PM2.5 level in Beijing air was only marginally worse at 200 micrograms.
Just as a reminder, the World Health Organisation deems anything above 25 micrograms of PM 2.5 as unhealthy.
The health hazards of breathing in the toxic air are infinite, thanks to the amount of ammonia, carbon, nitrates and sulphate that can pass through the bloodstream and can cause various diseases including cancer.
Understandably concerned, Beijing authorities didn't waste any time and issued its first yellow alert for air pollution in the second half of the year on Sunday. However, what action Delhi will take to address this issue, remains to be seen.
As per the TOI report, weather conditions are largely blamed for the deteoriating air quality in NCR. "The temperature has started falling and wind speed is very low. And because Delhi is a land-locked city, particulate matter cannot escape the region easily," explained a scientist from System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting Research (SAFAR) under the ministry of earth sciences. Unlike Beijing however, implementation of measures to combat toxic air over Delhi - like penalties on visibly polluting vehicles, parking restrictions and crackdown on waste burning - remains largely lethargic once again.