Clean Up Delhi’s Dangerous Pollution

Target: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

Goal: Follow through with a promise to clean up Delhi’s serious air, water, and municipal solid waste pollution.

Delhi, the capital territory of India, is not one of the largest and most polluted cities in the world. Air pollution causes the death of an estimated 10,500 Delhi citizens every year, and the World Health Organization has found that Delhi’s air contains even more pollution than the notoriously smoggy Beijing. Water pollution is equally serious, with the sacred Yamuna River suffering from chemical runoff, soil erosion, and the continuous dumping of garbage.

Matthieu Paley, a photographer for National Geographic, spent five days walking through Delhi’s polluted streets to capture how serious the pollution problem has become. Through his revealing pictures we can see the toxic foam on the Yamuna, the haze created by constantly burning garbage dumps, and the slums located next to open sewers. Much of this pollution has been caused by the city’s extreme urbanization and development, which has resulted in an ever-increasing amount of vehicles, industrial emissions, and a dangerously common practice of burning refuse. Pollution has become so out of control in Delhi that some have come to view it as a way of life, with people searching through garbage dumps every day in order to make money from materials they can collect and recycle.

India’s government has made several half-hearted attempts to clean up this dangerously polluted city, yet has failed to make a difference or even to fully inform Delhi’s citizens about air quality issues and how their health may be affected. Sign the petition below to urge the government to invest in a solid strategy to clean up Delhi’s air and water, and reinforce the city’s infrastructure to create a better method of waste disposal.


Dear Prime Minister Modi,

Delhi is facing catastrophic levels of air and water pollution, putting its citizens at serious risk and causing irreparable damage to the sacred Yamuna River. Studies claim that air pollution causes the death of approximately 10,5000 people in Delhi every year, and that the Yamuna’s water is contaminated by chemical runoff, soil erosion, and waste. Families with low incomes are forced to live in slums located directly next to open sewers. Men, women, and children have grown so accustomed to pollution that they search through garbage dumps every day in the hope of making a profit from materials they can recycle.

Delhi has been experiencing extreme urbanization, resulting in a growing amount of vehicles and industrial emissions. Serious action needs to be taken to counter the pollution caused by all of this development, and Delhi’s citizens deserve to be fully informed about air quality issues and the dangers of activities such as burning refuse.

I am urging you to invest in a clear, solid strategy to clean up Delhi’s air and water pollution. Please take action to reinforce the city’s infrastructure in order to create a better method of waste disposal, and follow through on your environmental policies to protect Delhi’s citizens from the dangers of pollution.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ville Miettinen

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