New Delhi has long recognised that it has a pollution problem. But since Diwali, a week ago, the thick 24X7 smog that has enveloped the city has presented a stark visual reminder of just how bad things are. So bad in fact that the city's usually insular residents have been forced into the streets to demonstrate for their right to breathe.

On Sunday, a protest organised by nine private citizens drew students, parents and doctors to Jantar Mantar to demand that the Union and state governments do something about what is being described as an emergency situation.

The organisers put out a list of demands for the government to address the city's appalling polution issue.

  1. Develop a better environment friendly public transport system.
  2. Strict ban on firecrackers and air pollutants through the year.
  3. Stop burning crops in and around Delhi at all times.
  4. Create a proper waste-management system.
  5. Restrict construction pollution.
  6. Restrict the entry of trucks to the city by creating bypasses.
  7. Shut down thermal power plants.
  8. Creat a pollution emergency plan in case of spikes in particulate matter.

Here are some scenes from the demonstration.

Sarah Lohamor was part of a large contingent of children from RD World School.
Sarah Lohamor was part of a large contingent of children from RD World School.
Manisha Dhawan and Nidhi Singh were concerned for their children Jiya and Arman who have developed breathing problems due to the smog.
Manisha Dhawan and Nidhi Singh were concerned for their children Jiya and Arman who have developed breathing problems due to the smog.
Parul Sharma, head of communications for Star India, was one of the organisers of the events. "We need to do this for our children," she said, hugging her daughter
Parul Sharma, head of communications for Star India, was one of the organisers of the events. "We need to do this for our children," she said, hugging her daughter
Schoolchildren, who are most severely affected by the pollution, came out in force in order to draw attention to the problem.
Schoolchildren, who are most severely affected by the pollution, came out in force in order to draw attention to the problem.
"I get so many parents telling me that their children can't breathe," said Nitin Verma, one of the city's leading pediatricians.
"I get so many parents telling me that their children can't breathe," said Nitin Verma, one of the city's leading pediatricians.
Ananya is all of eight years old but realises the harm that the smog is doing to her lungs.
Ananya is all of eight years old but realises the harm that the smog is doing to her lungs.
"I support the cause because I don't want my kids to breathe in this poison," said Samar Shivdasani. "It's unfair to ask my child to grow up here. If things don't improve, I am seriously going to consider moving out of the country. It's crazy but that seems to be the only solution."
"I support the cause because I don't want my kids to breathe in this poison," said Samar Shivdasani. "It's unfair to ask my child to grow up here. If things don't improve, I am seriously going to consider moving out of the country. It's crazy but that seems to be the only solution."
An electric motorcycle brand set up a quick installation to advertise how its vehicles do not add to the pollution.
An electric motorcycle brand set up a quick installation to advertise how its vehicles do not add to the pollution.
"Hope we won't repeat the mistakes our elders made," said teenager Amir Khan, who explained passionately how the current generation of Delhiites has mismanaged the city.
"Hope we won't repeat the mistakes our elders made," said teenager Amir Khan, who explained passionately how the current generation of Delhiites has mismanaged the city.