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Warning : Dehradun’s Air Quality could be worse than Delhi’s this winter. Here’s why:

Did you know we Doonites burn leaf litter from our gardens for 6 months a year - right from November till March? The worrying fact is that air pollution generated from burning leaves is as bad, if not worse than pollution generated by motor vehicles and factories.

Due to climate change Dehradun has been experiencing sporadic winter rains over the years. This simply means less winter rainfall followed by long dry spells in between. Such imbalance in rainfall will lead to greater amount of leaf litter in the coming times. That is to say, we will have a lot of dry leaves. In fact, LOTS of them.

Because we burn dry leaves tons of particulate matter, soot, ash and carbon monoxide goes up in the air. Doon being a valley with hills surrounding on all sides causes the pollution to remain within its boundaries, thus, amplifying the problem of pollution in Doon. This often leads to Dehradun's Air Quality Index (AQI) to exceed 300, which is almost as bad as that of Delhi.

Poor quality of air with lots of particulate matter will cause the usual winter health issues. Acute asthma, difficulty in breathing, wheezing, eye irritation and the likes.

But the problem of leaf litter burning can be solved with solutions like leaf composting and mulching. The responsibility lies on we Doonites to solve it and all it takes is will power and a little bit of effort both on the part of the administration and we citizens.

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