Deadly political calculations: why India does not identify a problem with toxic smog


NEW DELHI: Since this week in New Delhi, the level of pollution has risen to "severe" and "dangerous" levels, there was no indication that the Indian capital's residents did a great deal to protect themselves.

The smog, which is expected to deteriorate in the next few days, exposed people up to 24 times the recommended limit of dangerous particles on Monday. However, unlike many Chinese cities where facial masks have frequent views of the level of smog, it is still rare to see how locals take measures to reduce their exposure.

Children stand at school bus stops in dry ironing uniforms, while security guards, street cleaners and rik drivers spend many hours before breathing in the impure air – all without any attempt at security.

Ask middle-class residents whether they have air purifiers in their homes and there is always no answer.

This is despite the extensive coverage of the crisis in the field of capital pollution in local media, including numerous warnings by doctors about the huge health hazards, especially for children, sick people and the elderly.

Obviously, the lack of concern for toxic air – either due to ignorance, apathy or the obvious impact of poverty – gives federal and local politicians the cover they need to solve the problem unsuccessfully, pollution activists, social scientists and political experts said.

Neither the leading party at the federal level nor the main opposition in the capital have power and do not give them much incentive to work with the city authorities.

While Delhi has more than 20 million inhabitants, its significance at the time of the vote – state elections is expected to be until May next year – is insignificant compared with countries such as the neighboring Uttar Pradesh, which has 220 million.

"The tragedy is that there is no political will either by the federal government or the government government in Delhi, so we can see that both of us are blamed for the crisis we are in," said Yogendra Yadav, a political tester. "Whatever little government action you see is due to the pressure exerted by environmental activists and the Supreme Court."

Cocktail Fumes

Indian problems with smog go far beyond Delhi – the state of 1.3 billion has 14 of the 15 most deprived cities in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

But in the capital, it was the year when the problem was to be solved.

When a cocktail of toxic fumes rounded the area in October and November last year, the city government declared delinquent public health in Delhi, and its chief minister, Arvind Keiriwal, described Indian capital as a "gas chamber". Officials of the federal government said that Narendra Modi's office had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that this would not be repeated.

However, the measures taken so far have not brought much difference, but now they show up in the Modi administration, the Delhi city government and the governments around the capital.

As the crisis deteriorated this year, the environmental ministers of Punjab and Haryana, whose steepness in burning peasants is the main source of fog, last week at a meeting called by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, instead sent its civil servants instead.

Farmers burned their fields when preparing for new planting, despite government subsidies being available for machines that would allow them to snap material into the ground without igniting fires.

Farmers say that subsidies were insufficient to cover the price of machinery, the cost of its implementation and additional labor needed, especially at higher fuel prices.

India has planned a cut in crop yields for up to 70 percent this year, but so far there has been only a 30 percent reduction, according to a government statement on Thursday.

They claim that this is the main reason for the toxic air in New Delhi, a spokeswoman for the city government, said: "We can not act separately in Delhi, we can not build a wall."

In the meantime, the federal government attacked the city because it had no control of pollution from dust, vehicles and industries.

In any case, it has not been done to reduce the number of vehicles that are endangering the environment on the roads in and around Delhi, despite the threats that were carried out but not taken into account, including one of the environmental pollution control bodies the Supreme Court (EPCA) appointed all private vehicles from the city.

And while the highest court in the country issued a decision restricting the use of fireworks in the night of the Diwali Hindu festival, which is on Wednesday, little expects this to take place. The only thing is that the court issued a decree that it is possible to exclude only "green", less threatening firecrackers between 8 hours. and 10 hours. probably will not take into account because there are no "green" fireworks in the city.


Most officials expect that on November 8, it will slowly rise to a worse pollution, as smoke from the ceremony combines smog from other sources to create a deadly cocktail. Light seasonal winds and lack of rain during this time of year mean that pollution can take several weeks, just like last year.

However, Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata (BJP) is more concerned about the impact of weak farm incomes, high fuel prices, and whether job creation was sufficient as a matter of elections.

"A comprehensive approach in the current climate is difficult to predict, because the political divide means that politicians do not look for lasting solutions," said Pavan K Varma, an official of the Bihar regional party and a former diplomat living in Delhi.

Neither in the interests of the BJP, nor in the interests of the party of the main opposition congress, it is not to help the Kayriwal government in New Delhi. In 2015, Keiriwal's anti-Aammi party, which fought against corruption, protested against the BJP and the Congress to take control of the city.

For doctors, Delhi is a nightmare.

This year, the number of patients with severe pulmonary problems has increased by 25 percent and is expected to increase beyond Diwali, said Dr. Desh Deepak, a doctor at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital Hospital.

"It is a tragedy for children to suffer and destroy the entire generation, without taking into account the fact that pollution should be resolved on a military basis," said Dr. Neeraj Jain, Head of the Department of Chest Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi.

Dipankar Gupta, the leading sociologist who wrote books about Indian society, said that the problem would only be solved by heavy state intervention. He drew attention to improving the level of pollution in Beijing last year due to stringent government measures to prevent industrial pollution in the vicinity of the Chinese capital.

But this state crackdown still seems far from taking place in India. The EPCA announced a series of steps from 1 to 10 November under the emergency package, including the use of water sprinklers and a complete construction ban.

Most environmental experts, however, believe that it is too little, too late, and not to address the biggest sources of pollution.

Modi did not publicly turn to the health crisis that involved capital.

A dead forecast means that foreign organizations, including embassies in Delhi, find it hard to get the highest talent to come to town.

"Staff with young children is increasingly deciding not to come, which was not a few years ago," the Reuters official said on condition of anonymity.

The majority of the city's population is poor, but is more concerned about the amount of money to buy food than pollution.

"Daily grind … does not leave room for contemplation of fog and smog," said Vimla Devi, who works as a maid in the suburbs of Delhi.


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