Air pollution in Delhi - how bad is it?

Mamaexpat's picture
By Mamaexpat - Posted on
23 May 2017


We may have the opportunity to move to Delhi and there are many things about this that are really exciting. However, I'm quite concerned about air pollution as I hear Delhi has the worst of any major city in the world.

We have two young children and one has mild asthma. I'm naturally concerned about the effects of air pollution on the two of them. I'd love to hear from people living in Delhi, particularly those with children. Does the pollution affect your daily life? Have you/your children had any medical issues resulting from air pollution? Does the pollution have any influence on how long you will stay in Delhi?

Thank you so much!

Brett Martindale's picture
Last seen: 1 year 32 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2017


Although I've never been to nor lived in Delhi, I can tell you that Delhi indeed does have one of the worst cases of air pollution in the world. In fact, there are just two other cities that are worse. The air is filled with something called "particulate matter", comprising of smoke, dust, dirt and chemicals.

Killing some 1.5 million people a year in the country, it is a huge problem not only in Delhi but across the whole of India. It will be particularly risky taking your child. According to the World Health Organisation, some 2.2 million children suffer irreversible damage to their lungs. Those with chronic respatory illnesses such as asthma are particularly vulnerable to harm. For both adults and children alike, doctors say it is the equivalent of smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

At the end of 2016, the problem became so bad that schools in Delhi were closed for three days and factories actively shut down in an incident known as The Great Smog of Delhi. There is also evidence that has been unearthed by the Agency for Research on Cancer to suggest that it contributes to both lung and bladder cancer too.

Hope this has given you some insight.

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Anonymous's picture

Thank you Brett. I really appreciate your comment. I have heard many of these things too (though not the suggestion that it may contribute to some cancers).

If we went we would of course take every measure possible to reduce exposure in poor conditions. I wonder if there is anyone who has attempted this and how successful you've been?

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