Toxic air pollution chokes Delhi

Danger: Scientists say “the perfect storm of conditions” turned Delhi into a “gas chamber”. © Getty

Is this a glimpse of the future? Delhi in India is covered in a toxic fog. Schools are shut and people are staying indoors. In cities across the world, air pollution is a growing problem.

What’s happening

The city of Delhi is India is covered in a toxic smog. The air is so polluted that people cannot leave their homes.

The pollution is caused by a dangerous particle called PM2.5. Levels of PM2.5 in the air are 10 times higher than the safe limit.

Find out more

The Indian government has made a rationing plan to remove hundreds of thousands of cars from the road. The fumes from cars can make pollution worse.

However, experts think that cars are not the main cause of the smog. They are blaming it on farmers in neighbouring states, who burn crops to clear their fields.

Air pollution can hurt your eyes and make it difficult to breathe. If you breathe in toxic air for a long time, you can become very sick from a respiratory disease.

But it is not just a problem in Delhi. Around 90% of the world’s population live in a place with unsafe levels of air pollution.

To tackle the issue, experts say that we must reduce harmful emissions and use more green energy. If we don’t, the problem will keep getting worse.

Is this a glimpse of the future?

Some say…

Yes. Air pollution is getting worse across the world, including in the UK and the USA. The big energy companies that are responsible for most pollution are not taking responsibility.

Others think…

No. We have the technology to stop pollution. Companies must be forced to choose green energy. With the right education and ingenuity, we can make the air cleaner and safer for everyone.

You Decide

  1. How can you protect yourself against air pollution?


  1. Design a public health poster explaining what air pollution is and why it is dangerous.

Some People Say...

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Wendell Berry, US writer and environmentalist

What do you think?

Word Watch

A fog made up of poisonous gas.
When a toxic substance gets into something, like air or water.
A tiny piece of something that is too small to see with the naked eye.
When people are only allowed to have a fixed amount of something (often food).
Take away.
Nearby; next to.
Plants that are grown to be eaten.
To do with the lungs and breathing.
The total number of people who live somewhere.
Usually, a gas produced by something.
A source of energy that will not run out or harm the environment, like solar power.
A quick look.
Using science to develop new ways of doing things.
Being clever and original.


PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.