Air Pollution in India | Causes | Impact

Nowadays, Air Pollution has come out as a global communal health subject and is supported as a major environmental health risk by agencies such as the World Health Organization and governments around the world. A boost in the concentration of pollutants – both gaseous and solid – is among the biggest health hazard in the world and according to the newest data discharged by WHO, indoor and outdoor air pollution were accountable for 3.7 million deaths of citizens aged under 60 in 2012.

In current years, air pollution has acquired crucial elements and the air quality in most Indian cities that observe outdoor air pollution fail to meet WHO instruction for harmless levels. The stage of PM2.5 and PM10, as well as the concentration of unsafe carcinogenic substances such as Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide, has arrived at alarming proportions in mainly Indian cities, putting people at extra risk of respiratory diseases and other health issues. Furthermore, the problem of indoor air pollution has put women and children at high threat.

Causes of Air Pollution in India:

As of June 2016, coal-powered thermal power plants report for 61.58% of India’s total power generation, according to data presented from central electricity power. Coal plants happen to be one of the most important sources of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide.

The share of rural households using kerosene as a main source of energy for lighting is almost 30%. Kerosene lanterns used in rural regions are the main source of emission of black carbon soot and reason significant health impact, mainly in the case of women.

Increasing number of cars in Indian towns – personal & commercial vehicles account for 59.84% of the total utilization of Diesel. Low benchmarks for vehicle emissions & fuel have an outcome in increased levels of SO2 and NO2.

As, per Census 2011, 86% of rural household and 27% of urban households depends on biomass for cooking. The burning of biomass is a most important reason for indoor air pollution and is accountable for a respiratory health issue in around 400 million Indians.

Impact of Air Pollution in India:

Air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, has had a major impact on the health of peoples as well as wealth. The adverse effect of air pollution is not just limited to the urban zones but also impact rural zones, where a majority of the residents relies on kerosene and burning of biomass for lighting and cooking reason respectively.

Air pollution is among the most important reasons for death in India –

The global burden of disease report has ranked outdoor air pollution as the fifth most important reason for death in India and indoor air pollution as the third most important reason. Outdoor air pollution was accountable for 6, 20,000 deaths in 2010, rising six-fold from 1, 00, 000 deaths in 2000.

Negative impact on agricultural productivity –

A recent study “Recent climate and air pollution impacts on Indian agriculture” by scientists at the University of California, San Diego advises the unfavourable impact of air pollution reasoned by short-lived weather pollutants on agricultural productivity. They observed that the yield of wheat in 2011 has decreased by almost 34% and that if rice by 26% when compared numbers from 1981, negating for the weather change. SLCPs such as ozone and black carbon are released into the atmosphere by motor vehicle exhausts and rural cookstoves in that order. These SLCPs remain in the atmosphere for small phases.

Cost of Air pollution amounts to 4% of the GDP –

A World Bank report titled “Diagnostic Assessment of picking Environmental Challenges in India” highlighted that the yearly price of air pollution, purposely pollution from particulate matter amounts to 4% of the GDP of the country; outdoor air pollution accounting for 1 % and indoor air pollution for 1.3%. The report also observed that a 31% reduction in particulate emissions by 2032 would save India $109 billion in health-related costs; an 11% reduction would save $25 billion.

Policies measures to tackle the problem:

Steps to curb vehicular emission –

With the boost in the figure of vehicles on Indian roads, air pollution resulting from vehicular emissions has become the main cause of air pollution in urban centres if the country. Moreover, in the financial year 2015, the share of diesel cars in overall car sales was 55%. According to a report released by the international council on clean Transportation, Moreover, the content of SO2 in fuel creates it dirtier and lowers the efficiency of catalytic converters, which manage emissions in automobiles. Therefore, several moves have been taken to mitigate the concern of vehicular emissions.

  • Adopting emissions norms and fuel guideline standards
  • Promotion of cleaner technologies and alternate causes of energy to run vehicles
  • Encouraging larger use of public transport in urban regions

Reducing the dependence on biomass in rural domestics

Biomass – fuel wood, agricultural residue and animal waste – is among the most prevalent sources of energy in India, with almost 86% of rural domestics and 24% of urban domestics dependent on biomass for cooking. These fuels are burned in outdated cookstoves as an outcome of which they emit harmful pollutants, contributing to indoor air pollution in rural zones.

The new area of focus to decrease dependency on coal –

India is very rich in renewable energy sources, such as wind and small hydro, however, green energy accounts for only 11.88% of India’s total established power capacity. According to the India renewable energy position report 2015, the whole renewable energy potential from various sources in India is 2, 48, 285 mega Walt which implies that only 13.11% of the potential has been getting. Moreover, wind energy constitutes almost 67% of the total renewable energy produced in the country.

National ‘Air Quality Index’ to enable ordinary man to understand Air Quality –

Declared in October 2015 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate transform, the National Air Quality Index is a measurement index consisting of 8 parameters, which would disseminate news in a easy and valuable manner to the ordinary man as characterized by its slogan” One shade, One figure and One explanation”. This data would be accessible for 10 cities in the first stage after the open and would be disseminated in a real-time manner to improve public awareness. Under the Air Quality Index format, the stage of the 8 pollutants are categorized as high-quality, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, underprivileged, very underprivileged and severe based on the ambient concentration, conformity to National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

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