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Delhi in throes of climate crisis: Severe AQI, water scarcity, sweltering heat


New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) As the global community grapples with the far-reaching consequences of climate change, the Indian capital, Delhi, finds itself at the forefront of an escalating environmental crisis. The city, known for its vibrant culture and historical significance, is now grappling with a myriad of climate-related challenges that demand immediate attention.

One of the most pressing issues faced by Delhi is the deteriorating air quality. The city consistently ranks among the most polluted in the world, with residents contending with hazardous levels of particulate matter. The government has implemented various measures, including Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)- IV, imposing restrictions on industrial activities, BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel vehicles but the battle against air pollution remains an uphill struggle.

Rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns further compound the problem. Delhi witnesses sweltering summers and unpredictable monsoons. Urban heat islands exacerbate the heat, affecting the health and well-being of the city’s inhabitants.

“Climate change has also heightened concerns about water scarcity in Delhi. Changing precipitation patterns and increased demand for water pose significant challenges to the city’s water supply,” said Chandra Veer Singh, former scientist and environmentalist.

In response, the Delhi Government led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has initiated projects to improve water management, exploring sustainable solutions such as rainwater harvesting and efficient distribution systems.

Waste management is another critical aspect of Delhi’s climate action plan. The city is working towards reducing waste generation through awareness campaigns and innovative practices. Recycling initiatives, waste segregation at source, and the promotion of responsible consumption are key components of this comprehensive strategy

To address these challenges, authorities are exploring sustainable solutions and intensifying efforts to promote public awareness.

Initiatives such as afforestation drives, investment in renewable energy, and the promotion of eco-friendly transportation options are gaining momentum.

Additionally, civic engagement campaigns aim to empower residents to actively contribute to mitigating climate change.

However, experts emphasise the need for a comprehensive and collaborative approach involving not only government initiatives but also active participation from businesses, communities, and individuals.

As per the draft released in June this year on Delhi State Action Plan on Climate Change, by 2050, the city is likely to face economic losses amounting to Rs 2.75 trillion due to the impacts of climate change.

In 2008, India introduced the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), prompting state governments to develop their own action plans aligned with the strategies outlined in the NAPCC, known as the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC).

Earlier, addressing the threat of climate change to water security in the city, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai stressed the need for collaborative efforts among states to effectively handle such challenges.

Rai pointed out that developing nations, including India, are grappling with the consequences of actions by developed countries.

He highlighted the importance of integrating environmental protection, climate change, and air pollution into national policies and politics, asserting that this approach could pave the way for ecologically-friendly development throughout the nation.

Rai emphasised that climate change is a global challenge, affecting not only Delhi but the entire world, with developed nations playing a significant role in contributing to it through unchecked exploitation of natural resources.

As Delhi faces this climate challenge head-on, it serves as a microcosm of the global struggle to create a sustainable and resilient future in the face of climate uncertainty.

(Shekhar Singh can be reached at


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