Pollution is becoming the most significant risk factor in human life, especially those living in India. A numerical scale, i.e., AQI (Air Quality Index), is used to measure the air quality of an area in a day, which includes the consideration of eight pollutants, namely PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, Pb as the significant parameters. Central Pollution Control Board is a statutory organization under the Ministry of Environment and Forests; India’s government releases data on air quality of cities in India daily.
The data shows that Ahmedabad, Delhi, Patna, Gurugram, and Lucknow are the cities immensely affected by pollution for 2015-2019.
Stubble burning has been a tradition for decades, followed by farmhands in Punjab, Haryana, and other northern India, impacting the air quality to a greater extent. But according to a report, stubble burning contributes less than 20 percent of pollution to the environment. Other concerning reasons for air pollution in the country are the emission of dangerous gases from vehicles and waste-to-energy plants in every city’s suburbs.
Most people in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai use private transport over public transport, which increases the level of pollution even more. There has been a rapid increase in two-wheeler and four-wheeler for the past few years, increasing environmental pollution. Diesel vehicles are responsible for 66 percent of air pollution.
A report revealed by the WHO (World Health Organization) says that about 600,000 children die from respiratory diseases breathing in toxic air each year. The alarming news is that about 99 percent under the age of 15, 1.8 billion youngsters, and 630 million children under the age of 5 are breathing toxic air, leading to the disastrous health of the individual. The air that is inhaled by humans now contains toxins like sulfate and back carbon causing premature death and asthma at a very young age. In India, 30 percent of premature deaths are caused by air pollution.
The life expectancy by more than four years. Significantly the concentration of toxins is high in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi, with a shortage of six years in the average lifespan of residents staying in these states. Diabetes is growing at a concerning rate among Indians.
Exposure to outdoor air pollution is also increasing the risk of a decrease in a child’s intelligence, eyesight, maternal health, mental health, menstrual health, and the list goes on. According to doctors, air pollution can also increase the possibility of getting covid-19 to an individual.
Government and the public both play a significant role in controlling pollution. The government should pass unerring ordinances or laws to check the air quality in every region.
As a responsible and concerned citizen, we can do the following: -Drive our car less. -Turn off the engine while the red signal is on. -Less usage of plastic and stop burning it. -Stop having campfires. -Planting more and more trees. -Using eco-friendly materials.
Written by Debnath Saheli.