Every November, Northern India experiences some of the most dangerous air pollution levels in the world. When the pollution hits Delhi, the more than 30 million people living there are forced to live in a toxic cloud of smoke. They breathe in car exhaust, construction dust, and industry emissions that are in the air year-round, but there is another source of pollution that mixes in with Delhi’s contamination and pushes the air quality to hazardous levels every year. And it can be traced back to a policy meant to save water.
In 2009, a policy was enacted in states situated upwind of Delhi to protect dwindling water supplies, but it is having unintended consequences and wreaking havoc on the lungs of residents in India’s capital city. To learn how it’s happening and what’s being done to stop it, watch the video above.