"Lately, a very bad air day in Beijing is about an average one in New Delhi," observes Gardiner Harris. But you wouldn't guess that's the case if you followed the international media or spoke with Delhiites. Even though "India has the world’s highest death rate because of chronic respiratory diseases, and it has more deaths from asthma than any other nation, according to the World Health Organization," you rarely hear mention of the air pollution problem by public officials or Delhi residents.
Why does Beijing's bad air get so much more attention? Some point to the Chinese government's efforts to keep environmental information from the public. “I think when you have the sense that they’re hiding something, it galvanizes public attention in a counterintuitive way,” said Ananth Krishnan, the China correspondent for The Hindu. “I don’t think the Indian media has given enough attention to this issue," he added. "I remember an Indian environmental scholar visited Beijing a few months ago, and he was surprised that pollution was getting so much attention in the press here."
"Coverage of air quality by the Indian news media 'will have to change very soon,' Mr. Krishnan said."