Europe's new Sentinel-5P satellite, which was launched last October to track air quality worldwide, found the air above India and surrounding South Asian nations to be 'distinct'.

In a picture released by the satellite, the air above most of India is shown to be reddish orange hued, reported BBC.

Source: BBC

So, what is be the reason behind this?

Well, it is because of the presence of formaldehyde, a colourless gas, that is released by vegetation.

Source: Thakurani

But, the reason it is present in such high amounts, is pollution.

Source: Zee News

The gas is also released in the environment due to agricultural fires, coal burning, cooking on chulhas and wildfires.

Source: CCA Coalition

The forest fires produce considerable amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which reacts with volatile compounds to produce ground-level ozone, that can be a reason for a lot of respiratory problems.

Source: Indian Express

Formaldehyde concentration is significantly low in the Western parts of India, because of lack of vegetation and population.

The information is aimed at helping the authorities to clean up the atmosphere, and we hope that the same happens soon.