These New Delhi Selfies Are Raising Eyebrows

[Environment ★★★]


(P1) It is tough to breathe in New Delhi these days, and people are demonstrating against the dangerous air with what Mashable calls “smog selfies.” Residents are posing with landmarks behind them, except that the landmarks are obscured by smog. Another dig: Members of a visiting cricket team whose game was canceled because of the air posed in protective masks. New Delhi, already considered one of the most polluted cities in the world, logged levels of PM2.5 (particulates that clog lungs) above 900 micrograms per cubic meter Saturday, or 90 times higher than the level the World Health Organization calls safe, reports the BBC. Now people are venting online through the hashtag #MyRighttoBreathe.

(p2) For now, government officials are urging everyone to stay inside because pollution this severe can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma, especially in kids. On Monday, schools were ordered canceled for three days, and all construction in the city has been suspended. A variety of culprits are being blamed: In addition to the usual factors of car exhaust and the burning of rubbish, fireworks during the recent Diwali festival didn’t help, and NASA images imply that massive crop burning, as farmers clear their fields, also is playing a role.

WORDS: 203


VOCABULARY: demonstrating, obscured, venting, culprits, imply


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Are there cities in your country that have severe pollution sometimes? If so, where?
  3. How can severe pollution be prevented?
  4. Do people protest in your country? If so, what do they protest about?


  1. Why are people protesting in New Delhi?
  2. What are in the back of people when they take pictures of the smog?
  3. Which sports team is also protesting?
  4. What can terrible smog cause in humans?
  5. Setting fire to crops is one of the culprits that is causing the severe pollution. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • another dig (P1)
  • posed in protective masks (P1)
  • can lead to (P2)
  • crop burning (P2)
  • playing a role (P2)

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Image source: by AP Photo/Manish Swarup

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