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India’s air quality concerns - are they only starting?

It’s an economic reality repeating itself again and again: Countries vying for business on the international stage fly high in terms of manufacturing and production but start to choke on the health consequences due to environmental and air quality pollution.

It happened in the US (Los Angeles) and in Europe (remember the Great Smog of London in 1952?) as well as, more recently, in China, and other developing nations like Iran.

Now India is making all the wrong kinds of headlines. It surpassed China in 2016 as the country that exposes its citizens to the most fine particulate matter pollution, received the dubious distinction of the most polluted city in the world (New Delhi in 2014) and experienced its own Great Smog event in New Delhi last November, stumbling through the worst smog cover in 17 years.

street in delhi

Reasons for India’s air pollution

India is exporting a lot of gems and precious metals, crude oil, vehicles and machine parts, organic chemicals and pharmaceutical products, clothing and electronic equipment.

Aside from industrial waste, experts say that most of the air pollution in India comes from wood and coal burning, crop residue burning and vehicle emissions as well as major traffic jams in urban areas. A lack of effective public transportation in major cities means the number of car owners is rising rapidly. In Delhi alone more than 9 million vehicles clog the roads, and there are about 1,400 new cars being registered every day. Despite the economic development, poverty is still a big problem in India, which makes officials hesitant to take drastic measures.

As a result, some laws and standards have been passed and led to air quality improvements, but international rankings still mark India as one of the most polluted countries in the world.


How the poor air quality affects India’s population

A 2016 study based on data from 2011 found that fine particle (PM2.5) pollution led to more than 570,000 premature deaths and cost the country about 640 billion USD. Other reports, like one compiled by Greenpeace India, estimate the death rate from air pollution to be around 1.2 million. Other long-term health effects are also on the rise. It is well-documented that fine particle pollution can cause or aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer and heart attacks. Simply living in New Delhi and breathing in the contaminated air is equal to smoking about 10 cigarettes a day, health experts say.

One of the main tells that there is a problem is the booming air purifier market in India, which according to insiders has grown from almost nothing to more than $23 million USD in a matter of years. These numbers are expected to grow as the Indian population realizes the danger involved in outdoor and indoor air pollution.

About Carbon Blends

Our standard “EXEC” carbon blend has a very large internal surface area and works exceptionally well for a wide range of air pollutants. 


The “Vocarb” carbon blend is our most recommended and best-selling specialty carbon blend. Vocarb stands for Volatile organic compounds or VOCs and this include a variety of chemicals that can cause a range of health problems including shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and eye, nose, lung and throat irritation. Some VOC's are suspected to cause cancer in humans and have been shown to cause cancer in animals. The long-term health effects caused by VOC's would depend on the concentration and length of exposure.


Some chemicals adhere better to different types of carbon materials and carbon blends. Over the years we’ve sourced and developed over 40 carbon blends. If you have an odor or chemical you need to remove, we have a blend to target it