Pollution impact: As AQI level crosses 900 in many parts of Delhi and NCR, 73% households in 5 cities now have 1 or more individuals suffering from pollution-related ailments


  • ● AQI level crosses 900 in many parts of Delhi and NCR
  • ● Percentage of Delhi households having one or more individuals suffering pollution ailments rise from 65% to 85% in 3 weeks
  • ● Only 25% of residents of Delhi-NCR now say they will socialise this Diwali
  • ● However, 36% residents of Delhi-NCR still plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

November 11, 2020, New Delhi: With the mercury level dipping on the heels of a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in Delhi-NCR, citizens now face serious smog-related health hazards as the air quality index (AQI) level crossed 900 in many parts of Delhi-NCR. An AQI level – calculated as per the level of pollutants (PM2.5, PM10 and other harmful gases) present in the air – at 401-500 is considered as “hazardous”. The current “severe or emergency” level of air quality that too before the start of Diwali across Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad has already started a widespread problem to citizens’ health – especially cough, cold, sore throat, burning eyes, and difficulty in breathing – which can lead to short-and long-term ailments such as aggravating respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and even lung cancer. These AQI levels combined with festive shopping period and festive socialising have led to a 300% rise in daily COVID-19 caseload to almost at 8000.

LocalCircles conducted a survey to find the aggregate percentage of households in Delhi-NCR having one or more individuals facing pollution-related health ailments like cough, cold, sore throat, burning eyes, headache and respiratory difficulties. It also tried to understand the tentative perception of citizens over “socialising” during the Diwali festival given the double-threat posed by air pollution and the likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19 on the present air quality conditions. And, as festivals in India are celebrated with much fan-fare and devotion, the survey tries to understand if citizens are planning to go out shopping between now and Diwali. The survey received more than 35,000 responses from residents of Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.

The first question asked citizens, “With Delhi-NCR air quality having deteriorated by 1,000% in the last 6 weeks and AQI now in the 500-700 range, what are you and your family experiencing?.” 5,956 responses from Delhi, 1,544 from Gurugram, 1,514 from Noida, 1,357 from Ghaziabad and 1,441 from Faridabad were received. Of which, 85% households in Delhi, 62% in Gurugram, 68% in Noida, 43% in Ghaziabad, and 66% in Faridabad said “either 1 or more individuals are suffering from pollution-related ailments”. Meanwhile, 13% households in Delhi, 13% in Gurugram, 19% in Noida, 57% in Ghaziabad, and 17% in Faridabad said “no members of the family have any of the above and are doing fine”.

85% Delhi households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

85% Delhi households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

43% Ghaziabad households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

85% Delhi households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

62% Gurugram households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

62% Gurugram households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

66% Faridabad households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

66% Faridabad households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

68% Noida households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

68% Noida households now have one or more individuals, suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and breathing difficulty

The aggregate views of citizens suggest that 73% households of Delhi-NCR now have 1 or more individuals suffering from pollution-related ailments like cough, cold, sore throat, headache, burning eyes, and difficulty in breathing. Delhi has reported the highest number of 1 or more individuals in the household facing pollution-related ailments, followed by Noida, Faridabad, Gurugram and Ghaziabad. On October 15, 2020, LocalCircles published the findings of a survey that said 65% households in Delhi have one or more individual who have started experiencing pollution-related ailments. For Delhi this has risen to 85% respondents now saying that they have one or more individuals in the household with pollution related ailments.

Percentage of Delhi households with one or more individuals suffering from pollution related ailments like cold, cough, sore throat, headache, burning eyes and respiratory issues

Percentage of Delhi households with one or more individuals suffering from pollution related ailments like cold, cough, sore throat, headache, burning eyes and respiratory issues

73% households of Delhi-NCR now have one or more individuals suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and respiratory issues

73% households of Delhi-NCR now have one or more individuals suffering with pollution ailments like cold/cough/sore throat, headache, burning eyes and respiratory issues

The second question in the survey has tried to understand the perception of Delhi-NCR citizens if they’d socialise during Diwali. Residents of Delhi and NCR typically meet their friends and extended family before and after Diwali. Many Diwali parties also take place during this period. To the question that asked citizens, “With Delhi-NCR AQI now in the 500-700 range and COVID-19 daily cases load near 7,000, how do you plan to socialise this Diwali?”, 5,908 responses from Delhi, 1,364 from Gurugram, 1,449 from Noida, 2,650 from Ghaziabad, and 1,318 from Faridabad were received. Of which, 22% of respondents from Delhi, 20% from Gurugram, 25% from Noida, 22% from Ghaziabad, and 50% from Faridabad said “will socialise” this Diwali.

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Delhi will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Delhi will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Ghaziabad will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Ghaziabad will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 20% residents of Gurugram will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 20% residents of Gurugram will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 50% residents of Faridabad will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 50% residents of Faridabad will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 25% residents of Noida will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 25% residents of Noida will socialise this Diwali

The aggregate views of citizens suggest that only 25% of residents of Delhi-NCR will socialise this Diwali given the double-threat posed by air pollution and the likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19 on the present air quality conditions. A majority of respondents from Delhi-NCR have planned to lesser their social visit come Diwali, or would just stay home and celebrate the occasion with close family and not visit nor host any gathering. Meanwhile, the NGT earlier this week has banned all kinds of firecrackers between November 7 and 30 in cities with “poor” or worse air quality across the country, aimed to reduce pollution levels during the festive season.

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 25% residents of Delhi-NCR will socialise this Diwali

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 25% residents of Delhi-NCR will socialise this Diwali

Celebration comes with planning and that requires shopping. Given the rise in AQI level and COVID-19 daily caseload, the survey tried to understand citizens’ plans if they’d visit the local market, main market, mall for festive shopping, or would they opt for home delivery from retail or local stores, or shop online for Diwali. To the question that asked, “With Delhi-NCR AQI now in the 500-700 range and COVID-19 daily caseload near 7,000, how do you plan to do festive shopping between now and Diwali?”, 5,560 responses from Delhi, 1,411 from Gurugram, 1,639 from Noida, 1,273 from Ghaziabad, and 1,314 from Faridabad were received. Of which, 29% of residents in Delhi, 43% in Gurugram, 22% in Noida, 44% in Ghaziabad, and 66% in Faridabad have said to “visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping”.

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 29% residents of Delhi plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

With rising pollution and Covid cases, only 29% residents of Delhi plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 44% residents of Ghaziabad plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 44% residents of Ghaziabad plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 43% residents of Gurugram plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 43% residents of Gurugram plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 66% residents of Faridabad plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 66% residents of Faridabad plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Noida plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, only 22% residents of Noida plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

The aggregate views of citizens suggest that 36% residents of Delhi-NCR plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping. Last weekend, many of the main markets saw over-crowding situations with no social distancing and near zero enforcement to COVID-19 protocols. With COVID-19 caseload worsening and AQI level further deteriorating, over-crowded main markets can be extremely risky.

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 36% residents of Delhi-NCR plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

Even with rising pollution and Covid cases, 36% residents of Delhi-NCR plan to visit markets and malls for Diwali shopping

With pollution-related ailments on the rise in Delhi-NCR, unless people control the urge to shop and socialise in the coming week, things are likely to get worse. Currently, most private hospitals and all Central Government run hospitals do not have any COVID-19 ICU bed available.

While stubble burning which is one of the leading causes of pollution in Delhi and NCR cannot be addressed in short-term, implementing a cracker ban was something LocalCircles had escalated per citizens’ feedback. 79% citizens of Delhi-NCR were in favour to ban sale on regular crackers in the LocalCircles survey released on October 26, 2020. Another issue highlighted by citizens was the poor enforcement of GRAP guidelines, with only 25% citizens of Delhi-NCR rating the enforcement as effective.

As we go into celebrating Diwali, the administrators of Delhi and NCR cities must ensure that the NGT cracker ban and GRAP enforcement are effectively implemented.

APPENDIX

City Level Survey Charts

Delhi Survey Results

After COVID-19 cases rise in Delhi, only 22% residents say they will socialise this Diwali

After COVID-19 cases rise in Delhi, only 22% residents say they will socialise this Diwali

Gurugram Survey Results

After COVID-19 cases rise in Gurugram, only 20% residents say they will socialise this Diwali

After COVID-19 cases rise in Gurugram, only 20% residents say they will socialise this Diwali

Noida Survey Result

After COVID-19 cases rise in Delhi-NCR, only 25% Noida residents plan to socialise this Diwali

After COVID-19 cases rise in Delhi-NCR, only 25% Noida residents plan to socialise this Diwali

Faridabad Survey Result

After COVID-19 cases rise in Faridabad, 50% residents still keen on socialising this Diwali

After COVID-19 cases rise in Faridabad, 50% residents still keen on socialising this Diwali

Ghaziabad Survey Result

After COVID-19 cases rise in Ghaziabad, only 22% residents say they will socialising this Diwali

After COVID-19 cases rise in Ghaziabad, only 22% residents say they will socialising this Diwali

Survey Demographics

35,000+ responses were received from residents of Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad. 69% respondents were men while 31% respondents were women. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com

For more queries - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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