Skip to content
Subscriber Only

NASA Data Shows Toxic Air Threat Choking Indian Subcontinent

  • Geography, climate worsen haze across the Indo-Gangetic plain
  • Cities such as New Delhi being left to battle to clean air
To go with India-environment-pollution,FOCUS by Trudy Harris In this photograph taken on December 18, 2015, Indian commuters travel on a polluted road near a bus terminus in the Anand Vihar District of New Delhi. Anger and alarm are rapidly rising throughout sprawling New Delhi over the air quality that the World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked the most hazardous on the planet. AFP PHOTO / CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP / Chandan Khanna (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photographer: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

The mega-city of New Delhi has tried everything from banning diesel guzzling SUVs to taking about half the city’s cars off the streets in a fight against air pollution. Officials may yet have to do much, much more, based on National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite research.

The research depicts how much sunlight is blocked by airborne particles, providing a proxy for levels of pollution. The data show parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain -- stretching across northern India from eastern Pakistan on one side to Bangladesh on the other -- suffer some of the planet’s worst haze in October through January after monsoon rains end in September.