Appeal to UN Refugee Agency to Give Environmental Asylum to People of Delhi

Children – who study at the RMN Foundation free school – have launched a new pollution-control campaign in Delhi.
Children – who study at the RMN Foundation free school – have launched a new pollution-control campaign in Delhi.

Appeal to UN Refugee Agency to Give Environmental Asylum to People of Delhi

Mr. Filippo Grandi
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNHCR, Geneva, Switzerland

Environmental Asylum for People of New Delhi

Dear Mr. Filippo Grandi,

I am a journalist and environmental activist. With this letter I urge you to grant special asylum to people of India’s capital New Delhi which is facing the worst humanitarian crisis because of lethal pollution all across the city.

Today, New Delhi is the most polluted capital while Gurugram (a.k.a. Gurgaon) a suburb of New Delhi is the most polluted city of the world. An interactive tool on the Breathe Life 2030 website shows a Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 level of 143 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3 annual mean) in Delhi. This is more than 14 times of the WHO (World Health Organization) safe level of 10 µg/m3. Simply put, the people of Delhi are inhaling poison from the air.

Estimates suggest that pollution is killing at least 42 people and hundreds of others fall sick everyday in Delhi. As pollution in Delhi has reached alarming levels, according to University of Chicago research, the lifespan of Delhi-dwellers is shortened by more than 10 years.

It is now being observed that many people are running away from Delhi like refugees or Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). In a recent survey, 35% of the 30 million people of Delhi said they want to leave Delhi because of increasing pollution. As a result, India is falling in the category of countries with large IDP populations – such as Syria, Colombia, Iraq, Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, and Somalia.

Delhi Government, the Indian Government, and the pollution-control agencies are not taking proper steps to control pollution because most politicians and bureaucrats in India are corrupt, uneducated, and careless.

The extreme pollution in Delhi is being compared to the poisonous gas chambers used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust for the genocide of millions of European Jews. As pollution in Delhi is harmful to millions of Indians as well as people in other parts of the world with its impact on global warming and climate change, its lethal effect is equivalent to weapons of mass destruction.

While air pollution has been increasing dramatically in Delhi, you are requested to declare Delhi an environmentally hazardous city and grant environmental asylum to people of Delhi who want to live in clean environment.

Rakesh Raman

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