Ms Narain, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed pollution watchdog EPCA, said cleaning up Delhi's air would require energy and mobility transformations, where people would adopt cleaner fuels and embrace public transport.
Speaking at the launch of her book 'Conflicts of Interest' yesterday, Ms Narain said people have abdicated their responsibilities in reacting against pollution.
"Air pollution is a great equaliser. We can put air purifiers at home but that cannot save us. After all, air is common," she said.
The sale of air purifiers in Delhi have shot up in recent times due to severe air pollution and smog with the onset of winter.
Sunita Narain, who heads the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said institutions, supposed to act as environmental safeguards, have been weakened.
She said the insistence on the part of many business houses to keep using sulphur-heavy fuels such as pet coke and furnace oil has worsened the situation.
Ms Narain, a member of the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA), said her roadmap to clean Delhi's air would involve a switch to cleaner fuels, and doing things on large scale such as the conversion of buses and autos to CNG in the early 2000s.
"We need a mobility transformation by keeping people off cars. We need to get more buses, metro, cycle lanes, pedestrian-friendly pathways," she said.