Did you know that in parts of India the air pollution is so bad in winter that schools close? An amazing story by Vibhuti Agarwal in the Wall Street Journal explains:
In New Delhi, as temperatures cool around November trapping filthy air over the Indian capital, parents say their children eagerly await ‘pollution holidays.’ . . .
Delhi’s air quality declines at this time of year because cooler temperatures mean polluted air doesn’t rise and disperse as it does in the summer. Air pollution and temperature are inversely related, said B. S. Murthy, a senior scientist at the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. “As temperatures go down, pollution goes up,” he said.”
How bad is it? Agarwal explains what is happening this fall:
“Cricket players in town from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for the Cricket World Cup skipped training practice. An industry body wrote to the prime minister saying the pollution is hurting business. Next week, private cars will only be allowed on the roads on limited days of the week, and the city on Wednesday ordered schools to shut for 10 days—pleasing school children, but sending parents scrambling to make arrangements.”
This news is striking. Who would have thought that colder temperatures would lead to severe air pollution? And it’s a reminder that cleaning up air pollution is a challenge, but one that a wealthy country like the United States can achieve, and has.
(The article is behind a paywall.)
View of area south of Delhi (2011) by jepoirrier is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.