Understanding smog – Delhi’s recurring winter problem


The word smog comes from a combination of two words, smoke and fog. In winters when the air is heavy with moisture, various particles stick to the water droplets in the air making a cloud of smog around us. 

These particles are all pollution related and they happen due to the following reasons.

Vehicular Pollution

The large number of vehicles on the road including public transport and the movement of trucks from outside Delhi is a major cause of air pollution.

Stubble Burning

After the crops are harvested, the remaining part of the plant is called stubble which is useless to the farmer. The most economical and fast option for the farmer is to burn it. Smog in winter begins in Delhi as soon as the crop burning starts.

Industrial activity

All along the borders of Delhi there are industries and power plants which run on coal and add to the air pollution.


Increase in population increases activity and gives rise to pollution.

Other factors

Several factors give rise to pollution like burning of waste and leaves, brooming of roads and public places and so on.

Effects of pollution

Breathing problems and breathing related illnesses are not very common among children as well as elders. Those who already have problems or medical conditions, their situation worsens.

Low visibility leads to delay of trains and cancellation of flights.

The Air Quality Index reaches severe levels where it is not even fit to live.

Measures taken by Government

Lot of efforts are being made to convince farmers to use alternate means to remove crop stubble. Due to these, many farmers have adopted measures to avoid burning their crops.

Any type of burning activity is banned in Delhi.

Innovative measures like Odd Even rule and carpooling is encouraged though awareness.

Thermal plants and such factories have been asked to shift outside Delhi or use alternate means of energy.

People are encouraged not to celebrate festivals like Diwali by burning crackers.  

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