外文标题：Delhi's air quality worse than one of world's most polluted cities Beijing, data shows
NEW DELHI: In mid-January, air pollution in Beijing was so bad that the government issued urgent health warnings and closed four major highways, prompting the panicked buying of air filters and donning of face masks. But in New Delhi, where pea-soup smog created what was by some measurements even more dangerous air, there were few signs of alarm in the country's boisterous news media, or on its effervescent Twittersphere.
Despite Beijing's widespread reputation of having some of the most polluted air of any major city in the world, an examination of daily pollution figures collected from both cities suggests that New Delhi's air is more laden with dangerous small particles of pollution, more often, than Beijing's. Lately, a very bad air day in Beijing is about an average one in New Delhi.
The United States embassy in Beijing sent out warnings in mid-January, when a measure of harmful fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 went above 500, in the upper reaches of the measurement scale, for the first time this year. This refers to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which is believed to pose the greatest health risk because it penetrates deeply into lungs.
But for the first three weeks of this year, New Delhi's average daily peak reading of fine particulate matter from Punjabi Bagh, a monitor whose readings are often below those of other city and independent monitors, was 473, more than twice as high as the average of 227 in Beijing. By the time pollution breached 500 in Beijing for the first time on the night of Jan 15, Delhi had already had eight such days. Indeed, only once in three weeks did New Delhi's daily peak value of fine particles fall below 300, a level more than 12 times the exposure limit recommended by the World Health Organization.
"It's always puzzled me that the focus is always on China and not India," said Dr Angel Hsu, director of the environmental performance measurement programme at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. "China has realized that it can't hide behind its usual opacity, whereas India gets no pressure to release better data. So there simply isn't good public data on India like there is for China."
Experts have long known that India's air is among the worst in the world. A recent analysis by Yale researchers found that seven of the 10 countries with the worst air pollution exposures are in South Asia. And evidence is mounting that Indians pay a higher price for air pollution than almost anyone. A recent study showed that Indians have the world's weakest lungs, with far less capacity than Chinese lungs. Researchers are beginning to suspect that India's unusual mix of polluted air, poor sanitation and contaminated water may make the country among the most dangerous in the world for lungs.
India has the world's highest death rate because of chronic respiratory diseases, and it has more deaths from asthma than any other nation, according to the World Health Organization. A recent study found that half of all visits to doctors in India are for respiratory problems, according to Sundeep Salvi, director of the Chest Research Foundation in Pune.
Clean Air Asia, an advocacy group, found that another common measure of pollution known as PM10, for particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter, averaged 117 in Beijing in a six-month period in 2011. In New Delhi, the Center for Science and Environment used government data and found that an average measure of PM10 in 2011 was 281, nearly two-and-a-half times higher.
Perhaps most worrisome, Delhi's peak daily fine particle pollution levels are 44 percent higher this year than they were last year, when they averaged 328 over the first three weeks of the year. Fine particle pollution has been strongly linked with premature death, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. In October, the World Health Organization declared that it caused lung cancer.
The United States Embassy in Beijing posts on Twitter the readings of its air monitor, helping to spur awareness of the problem. The readings have more than 35,000 followers. The United States does not release similar readings from its New Delhi Embassy, saying the Indian government releases its own figures.
In China, concerns about air quality have transfixed many urban residents, and some government officials say curbing the pollution is a priority.
But in India, Delhi's newly elected regional government did not mention air pollution among its 18 priorities, and India's environment minister quit in December amid widespread criticism that she was delaying crucial industrial projects. Her replacement, the government's petroleum minister, almost immediately approved several projects that could add considerably to pollution. India and China strenuously resisted pollution limits in global climate talks in Warsaw in November.
Frank Hammes, chief executive of IQAir, a Swiss-based maker of air filters, said his company's sales were hundreds of times higher in China than in India.
"In China, people are extremely concerned about the air, especially around small children," Hammes said. "Why there's not the same concern in India is puzzling."
In multiple interviews, Delhiites expressed a mixture of unawareness and despair about the city's pollution levels. "I don't think pollution is a major concern for Delhi," said Akanksha Singh, a 20-year-old engineering student who lives on Delhi's outskirts in Ghaziabad, adding that he felt that Delhi's pollution problems were not nearly as bad as those of surrounding towns.
In 1998, the Supreme Court ordered that Delhi's taxis, three-wheelers and buses be converted to compressed natural gas, but the resulting improvements in air quality were short-lived as cars flooded the roads. In the 1970s, Delhi had about 800,000 vehicles; now it has 7.5 million, with 1,400 more added daily.
"Now the air is far worse than it ever was," said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of the Center for Science and Environment.
Indians' relatively poor lung function has long been recognized, but researchers assumed for years that the difference was genetic.
Then a 2010 study found that the children of Indian immigrants who were born and raised in the United States had far better lung function than those born and raised in India.
"It's not genetics; it's mostly the environment," said Dr MyLinh Duong, an assistant professor of respirology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
In a study published in October, Dr Duong compared lung tests taken in 38,517 healthy nonsmokers from 17 countries who were matched by height, age and sex. Indians' lung function was by far the lowest among those tested.
All of this has led some wealthy Indians to consider leaving.
Annat Jain, a private equity investor who returned to India in 2001 after spending 12 years in the United States, said his father died last year of heart failure worsened by breathing problems. Now his 4-year-old daughter must be given twice-daily breathing treatments.
"But whenever we leave the country, everyone goes back to breathing normally," he said. "It's something my wife and I talk about constantly."
但根据旁遮普巴格（Punjabi Bagh，新德里郊区——观察者网注）的监测数据，今年的前三个星期，新德里平均每天的PM2.5浓度达到473，是北京前三周平均值的两倍。旁遮普巴格 的数据通常要比印度其他城市和独立监测机构的数据低。1月15日是北京PM2.5今年首度突破500的日子，而新德里今年已经有8天超过500了。实际 上，今年以来，新德里只有1天的数据低于300，而300乃是世界卫生组织推荐值得12倍。
专家们早就知道印度的空气污染程度在世界上数一数二。耶鲁大学最近的一项研究表明，世界上受空气污染伤害最大的10个城市（原文为“国家”，疑误 ——观察者网注）中，有7个位于南亚。印度人为空气污染付出的代价几乎是最高的。最近一项研究显示，印度人的肺功能是世界上最差的，比中国人要差得多。研 究者们猜测，印度糟糕的空气、卫生条件和饮用水造就了世界上对肺功能伤害最严重的地域。
“亚洲清洁空气”组织（Clean Air Asia）发现，2011年北京PM10的六个月平均值是117。“科学与环境研究中心”（Center for Science and Environment）根据新德里官方数据计算，得出新德里2011年的PM10平均值是281，几乎是北京的2.5倍。
对于空气污染，新德里居民在采访中表露出既无视、又绝望的复杂心情。“我觉得空气污染对新德里不是大问题。” 20岁男青年阿康克沙•辛格（Akanksha Singh）说。他是学工程学的，住在新德里郊区。他说，新德里的空气问题至少比邻近其他城市好一些。
“空气比以前差很多。”科学与环境研究中心主任阿努米塔•罗伊•乔杜里（Anumita Roy Chowdhury）说。
GEM NITYA (Unknown)
Really a news of eye opening
Malar Subr (Chennai)
Government should take urgent steps to ensure good quality air for its citizens. What makes me more concerned is that we do not even monitor it.
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Shazia Hannan (mumbai)
its high time to do something serious abt such a major issue affecting our lives
sitting duck (Banana Republic)
when people are only concerend about making more and more money somehow, this is bound to happen. unfortunately in this case there is no way out to make things better. only option would be to flee the country and live a peaceful life somewhere else on the planet.
Syed Abdulhaq (Srinagar Kashmir)
If one has to see and feel " Hell", go to India.
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nearmsp MN (USA) replies to Syed Abdulhaq
Do you consider you are in India?
Syed Abdulhaq replies to nearmsp MN
NO , No Kashmiri considers him/herself an Indian . When will you people get it? Indian occupation army killed, maimed, raped and tortured over a hundred thousand Kashmiris in the past 15 years. Do you think we will forget that?
shekon (Location) replies to Syed Abdulhaq
We do not care what you think. You deserve what our armed forces did. They should make life hell for you every friday like China does - cut off electricity, water and phone and throw dead bacon on your streets. All you parasites are free to leave India and join POK side - if you are so unhappy here, just pack your bags and migrate. India will give Kashmir to China soon - then pray to your allaaaaaaah what the Han chinese will do to your culture and religion.
my friend was in New Delhi on a business trip last week she stayed there for 5 days. She complaint the same thing and i didnt think it was really that smoggy the way she mentioned. She said every time she's out for an hour and wipes her face with tissue she would see greece and blackish matter on the tissue. (She is from the philipines btw and doesnt have oily skin) guess its really that bad in the Indian capital.
Syed Abdulhaq (Srinagar Kashmir)
Because of the polluted air in Delhi, the people get crazy and start raping women on the road side. An excellent example of " shining India ". No wonder the politicians in Delhi have addled brains, because of the polluted air.
Aaditya Gandhi (Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh)
This report should serve as an eye-opener to the authorities. The levels are going as much as 12 times higher than the set guidelines by WHO! This is a very serious cause for concern. It is high time that immediate steps be taken to curb the menace or things will go steadily downhill with less and less chance for any comeback!
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Rutvij Kothari (Unknown)
Indian Government should take some steps... This polluted air is spreading all over the nation thick and fast. There are few reasons why this type of incident happen. 1. Govt. failed in plantation of tree. Orissa cut down 6 lakh trees.. In amount they have to face "phailian". 2. Other country has rule to change vehicle after use of 3 years. But government is not taking any action regarding pollution from vehicle. 3. Increase public transportation vehicle to shift traffic into them and which may cut down the pollution. India need strong governance, support of youth and clear vision and mission.
Mukkul Maheshwari (Mumbai)
It seems the people of Delhi are unware of the dangers of pollution which can have far reaching impact on their health and also to some extent the callousness on part of the Delhi government to enforce strict laws and measure to curb pollution. We need to act swiftly before the situation gets out of hand.
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Pollution is a trap, by us and for us; the authorities need to do everything possible to cut it or it will cut short human life. It requires a steady spine to tackle pollution and to say no to polluting industries and adopt clean, green technologies and practices.’
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haha I cant stop laughing!!! Property prices are so high Pollution so high, Traffic aahh, Water contamination so high, Rape rate so high, Violence so high, Im leaving to russia land prices are so cheap. Bye