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About 93 per cent of Delhiites do not understand the Air Quality Index and its six categories, said reports citing a survey of 10 most polluted areas of Delhi on Friday.

It was also the day when the Supreme Court called Delhi a “gas chamber” where it’s difficult to live because of pollution and traffic congestion. “In the morning and evening, there is so much pollution and traffic congestion,” Justice Arun Mishra said, hearing a matter related to air pollution in the National Capital Region.

Pulling up authorities for failing to improve air quality, a bench of justices Mishra and Deepak Gupta said these problems affect the right to life.

The bench said, “We would like to understand. What are the things which are required to be done in actuality? What remains to be done as per the comprehensive action plan? What is required to keep in check environment pollution in Delhi? What more can be done?”

Saying “implementation is definitely lacking”, it said that many polluting vehicles enter Delhi at night and asked authorities how they were allowing these to enter the national capital.

Most of the citizens of Delhi, though admitting to problems they face due to pollution, did not know the meaning of AQI and when the air in the national capital is categorised as good, moderate, poor or severe.

This was found in a survey conducted by the United Residents Joint Action (URJA), a collective of the city’s resident welfare associations and ARK foundation.

The survey interacted with 509 residents from Anand Vihar, Ashok Vihar, Dwarka, ITO, Lodhi Road, Patparganj, Rohini, R K Puram, Siri Fort, and Bawana, taking minimum 50 people each from the 10 localities.

The survey showed that 89 per cent of the respondents were not aware about the air pollution monitors installed in their areas.

The questionnaire was given across the wards spread in a two-km radius around the identified locations where air quality monitors have been installed.

Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents said that they had not seen any LED screens showing the different levels of air quality, the survey said, adding that 71 per cent of the respondents were not satisfied with the air quality in Delhi.

While 58 per cent respondents said that they were affected by pollution, 42 per cent said they were unaffected.

Further, 28 per cent people admitted to facing difficulty in breathing due to poor quality of air and 20 per cent said that they were take extra care of their skin.

Another 16 per cent said they felt depressed due to the blanket of smog enveloping the national capital.

The questionnaire asked the respondents a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions.

AQI and Health Implications

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