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Sadly Delhi is now one of the world’s most polluted cities, with air pollution reaching crisis levels – and that’s having a very serious effect on all of us who live there.

It is now estimated that 30,000 people are dying prematurely every year in Delhi because of air pollution. Not only that, but the same challenges that are causing air pollution are also major drivers of dangerous climate change.

Scary right? But the good news is, we can fix this. Solutions are available and a growing movement is coming together to put them in place, fast. Join us to #HelpDelhiBreathe and protect our climate by fighting air pollution in our city.

Sign the Petition Demand Action
The Problem

What are we breathing?

Air pollution is often thought of as an environmental concern, but it has now reached levels that make it an urgent public health crisis.
Delhi's air pollution is made up of:

Gaseous pollutants from fossil fuels burnt by vehicles, households, industry and power plants, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.  These same pollutants are also the drivers of dangerous climate change.

Other gaseous pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from chemicals used in industry and by households. These are known to lead to eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system.

Particulate matter – tiny airborne particles from the burning of trash and biomass (wood, leaves and plant matter), as well as dust and dirt (including from construction sites), mold, spores, and pollen.

These particles can be airborne for over a week and travel hundreds of miles from their source. Because of their microscopic size, they can embed deep into our lungs, blood vessels, and even the brain.

The tricky thing is this pollution is almost always invisible. The most harmful toxins and gases are completely hidden in what may seem like clean air.

The World Health Organisation has set a safe limit of 25 micrograms of particulate matter (PM) per cubic meter of air. Delhi’s air met that safe standard for just seven days in the last two years. To be clear, this means that Delhiites inhaled air considered dangerous for human health for 99% of the year.

Delhi has only met the WHO standard for seven days in the last two years.

The Effects

Exposure to air pollution has very serious implications for health. It is a leading cause of dangerous diseases including asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, strokes, heart disease, pneumonia, throat, lung and nasal cancers, and tuberculosis, among other ailments.

Children are most vulnerable, as they breathe at a higher rate and breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Air pollution exposure can impair lung development in children, leading to lifelong breathing problems and disability.

The air that school children in Delhi breathe is four times more toxic than the WHO safety limit, and in a 2015 study of over 2000 children in Delhi, over 40% presented with weak lungs.

Air pollution can also affect the reproductive system and cause abnormal pregnancies.

It is now estimated there are a shocking 30,000 deaths every year in Delhi alone due to air pollution, making it the fifth leading cause of death in India. And for every person who dies, thousands more are suffering other health problems.

The Solutions

Clean air is a human right, and a major contributor to good health. Delhi needs to find urgent solutions to this terrible problem, and lead the way, for the country (13 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in India) and the world.

Other global cities such as Los Angeles and Mexico City have adopted strict policies and reduced air pollution to acceptable levels over the last few decades. Most recently, Beijing has seen significant improvements to its air quality due to policies such as the removal of polluting cars, restrictions to vehicle purchases, and the enforcement of strict emission standards for power plants.

Key Demands

We have developed a comprehensive action plan to reduce air pollution, protect our citizens and climate, and #HelpDelhiBreathe. Our key demands are as follows:

Information for all

Ensure clear information and advice on air pollution is standardised and disseminated to all neighbourhoods in Delhi.

Better public transport

Improve Delhi’s public transportation system, including by improving “last mile connectivity” for the Delhi metro, more green buses, electric motorbike taxis, expanding bicycle and foot paths, and creating no-car zones in the city.

Phase out diesel

Phase out diesel operated vehicles and machinery by 2020 – and immediately stop new registrations of diesel operated private cars until vehicles meeting the Euro VI emissions standard are made available.

Deal with local pollution

Find solutions for local sources of pollutants such as dusty streets and trash burning, for example by helping communities to generate fuel from waste biomass rather than burning it, and working with Residents Welfare Associations to provide clean fuel alternatives to wood burning for cooking and warmth in the winter.

Emissions standards

Develop a legal framework on emission standards for power plants, industries and all vehicles, and ensure it is implemented and enforced. Also develop fuel efficiency standards for all vehicles manufactured in India.

A regional approach

Develop a regional approach to air pollution and find solutions to crop burning and polluting industries and power plants in Delhi NCR. Support a serious push towards clean, safe renewable sources of power for the entire Indo-Gangetic Plain, such as solar and wind.

Take Action

The first step in solving our air pollution crisis is to ensure that all Delhi citizens have proper information about this problem and how they can protect themselves.

Add your name now to call on the government to provide this vital information so we can #HelpDelhiBreathe

Help Delhi Breathe took an opinion poll, and the citizens of Delhi have come out with strong conviction that something must be done to combat the hazardous levels of air pollution in Delhi.


Delhi Government, Delhi Health Ministry, Delhi Environment Ministry, Delhi Education Ministry

Air pollution in Delhi has reached crisis levels. A handful of public air quality monitors, and personal monitors, have repeatedly shown hazardous levels of pollutants in the air… (View Petition)


Your personal information will be kept private and held securely. By submitting information you are agreeing to Help Delhi Breathe keeping you informed about our campaigns. You may of course unsubscribe at any time.

And here’s what you can do right now at home...

Protect Yourself

Pay attention to air quality monitoring, and avoid too much exposure when pollution levels are high, by using protective measures, avoiding hotspots like busy roads, and avoiding exercise or overexertion. Here’s a website that has real-time information on Delhi-wide air quality.

Wear protection – masks and air purifiers can play a powerful role in reducing exposure to pollutants. A well-fitting mask with a high quality filter can be an effective measure against the inhalation of even the smallest harmful pollutant particles. It is important to note that air pollutants are toxins, not allergens – so anti-allergy pills cannot help alleviate symptoms, the only option is to minimise exposure.

Air pollution is worst early in the morning, which is also when many people tend to go out for exercise or walks. Try to avoid this time for exercise or overexertion if at all possible.

Don’t trash your air

Never burn trash – especially not plastic, but burning leaves or any other matter all contributes to dangerous air pollution. Instead, recycle anything you can, ensure all waste is properly disposed of, mulch or compost garden waste, and try to reduce the amount of waste you generate in the first place by using reusable bags, cups and packages wherever possible. 

Don’t cook your atmosphere

Burning biomass (wood and leaves) for cooking is a major source of dangerous fine particulate matter air pollution. Try to only use LPG or electric stoves if possible, and ensure proper ventilation when you are cooking.

Don’t drive pollution

Responsible car use can play a huge role in reducing air pollution. Avoid any unnecessary journeys and use individual vehicles as little as possible. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transport.  If you have to drive, follow traffic rules to avoid congestion, avoid long idling periods, keep tires properly inflated and aligned, get regular engine tune-ups, and if possible choose efficient, low-polluting models of vehicles. Consider trading in highly polluting diesel cars in particular.

Don’t burn your lungs

Firecrackers and bonfires add the worst kind of fine particulate matter to the atmosphere. Burn lamps instead. Diesel burning is the primary source of nitrogen oxide emissions and particulate matter, so wherever possible trade in diesel generators for inverter batteries or other options.

Don’t power the problem

Responsible power use and energy efficiency can also go a long way to helping reduce the emissions that cause air pollution. Conserve energy by turning off any non-essential lights and air conditioners and keeping their use to a minimum. Install low energy LED bulbs and insulate your home to save energy and reduce your monthly bills. Consider installing solar power.

One of the most important things you is help educate others about the dangers of air pollution and how they can help themselves and others.  Share this website with friends and family, like and share our page on Facebook, tell your community about the problem, spread the word about the solutions, bring someone along to our next event!

Clean air is a right! Learn how we can solve Delhi's #AirPollution crisis and #HelpDelhiBreathe at
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Who we are

We are the Help Delhi Breathe coalition: a group of concerned citizens, businesses and organisations working to fight dangerous air pollution and help all residents of Delhi breathe the pure, safe air they deserve.

For more information or press enquiries, contact

Join Us

For the latest news and information, event invites and updates, like us on Facebook, follow @DelhiBreathe on Twitter, sign our petition for updates.

If you represent an organisation that would like to join the coalition, or for more information or press enquiries, contact

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