India Can’t Breathe

by Nina Soni ’25

Source: The Guardian

Published Dec. 22nd, 2021

Pre Covid pollution in the world has increased severely over the years. From gas and oil factories to littering, most people understand that humans are hurting the planet.

The second most populated country, India, is undergoing a severe pollution crisis, with toxic smog filling the streets and homes of citizens in India.

India has a population of 1.38 billion, and about 30 million people live in the capital, New Delhi. Delhi is one of the busiest places in India and car use is common, leading to a smog that infests India. Pollution in New Delhi has worsened to the point that the air is toxic, making it hard to breathe.

Few Indians are aware of their actions which hurt the environment, and Doctor Arvin Kumar, a surgeon in New Delhi believes that most government officials refuse to do anything about it. In an interview with The Financial Times, Dr. Kumar says that the government is “not unaware but, despite being aware, they deny”.

Dr. Kumar noticed that before the air and pollution worsened to the point it is at now, most of his lung cancer patients were older male smokers. Now, about half of his patients have never smoked. The non-smoking patients are also younger and many more are female. Upon observing this drastic difference, Dr. Kumar and many others concerned about the pollution crisis urge for change.

According to The Indian Express, 150,000 children under the age of 5 died from respiratory infection. Of those deaths, 54% were caused by outdoor pollution and 46% from household pollution. It is explained that children’s lungs are weaker when they are younger, developing over time. Younger children are also exposed to more household pollution since they are spending much time with their mothers while cooking and doing other activities.

As the smog continues to blanket India, there has been an increase in concern from bystanders. Other professionals and  concerned citizens are realizing the danger India is facing right now. The more Indians choose to ignore the pollution crisis, the more it will worsen. Whether they are normal citizens walking the streets or government officials, most Indians agree that it is time for change. “It’s a silent crisis. It’s an emergency,” says Dr. Kumar.

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