The Toxic Smog Crisis in India is Worsened by Delhi’s Congested Roads.

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The Toxic Smog Crisis in India is Worsened by Delhi’s Congested Roads.

Office worker Ashok Kumar spends more time than ever locked in the traffic that clogs New Delhi’s thoroughfares and pollutes the city after decades of commuting on the city’s poor roadways.

The enormous megacity of 20 million people is consistently named as the world’s most polluted capital, with car exhaust being a major contributor to the deadly smog that blankets the skies, particularly in the winter.

Delhi’s patchwork public transportation system is struggling to keep up with the city’s growing population, with huge lines forming outside the city’s subterranean metro stations each evening and overcrowded buses squeezing through congested highways.

“The air was clear when I arrived in Delhi since there were so few cars and bikes on the roads,” Kumar told AFP as he waited for a ride home outside the city’s major bus station.

“However, now everyone owns a car.”

Kumar alternates between commuter buses, private shared taxis, and rickshaws to and from his residence in Delhi’s extreme southern suburbs for over four hours every day.

Kumar, who is 61 years old, is hoping to save enough money to purchase his own scooter and avoid the daily drive.

“Few individuals can afford to squander time on public transportation,” he explained.

According to government statistics, private vehicle registrations have tripled in the last 15 years, with more than 13 million vehicles on the roads of the city.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, Delhi drivers spend 1.5 hours more in traffic than drivers in other major Asian cities throughout the year.

However, as the prevailing winds slow and a thick layer of haze falls over the city, the everyday irritation becomes a full-fledged public health disaster, with a spike in hospital admissions from inhabitants straining to breathe.

According to Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), vehicle emissions accounted for more than half of the city’s PM2.5 concentration at the start of November, the tiniest airborne particles most dangerous to human health.

According to a research released by the centre last year, the capital’s public transit ridership has been steadily declining.

Since the turn of the century, when Delhi opened the first links in an underground rail network that today covers more than 250 stations and expands into neighboring satellite cities, infrastructure has improved.

Long distances between metro stops and residential areas, however, are forcing commuters to use private vehicles, according to the CSE.

“The Metro is convenient, yet I still needed something.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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