Air Pollution in India: Not Just a Health Hazard
As the year 2017 nears its end, India’s pollution problems gear themselves to welcome the New Year. Problems of air pollution are not news in the country. From common folk to the world wonder, Taj Mahal, nearly everybody and everything has been hit with the troubles of pollution. But the present year has seen an unprecedented growth in the toxicity of air. As the national capital New Delhi remains immersed in multiple thick layers of smog for days, the country formidably looks forward to the destruction that ensues.
The Crisis of Delhi
A heavy protest followed the Supreme Court’s ban on firecrackers’ sale in the national capital. While the judgment moderately worked in creating a less polluted Diwali this year in comparison to the last one, the Indian Medical Association narrated a different story. Earlier this month, the IMA President announced a “Public Health Emergency State” in New Delhi, advising people to stay as much indoors as possible. This was a consequence of the massive rise in the quantity of air pollutants in the city. The pollutant P.M2.5’s quantity rose to above 450 which is dangerously beyond the permissible range of 25.
As the city tussles to breathe amid the hazardously high levels of pollution, both the economy and the environment are badly hit. The schools’ closure was one of the few measures that the government could take in prevention. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) released a survey suggesting 5-10% of the national capital’s workforce had called in sick due to respiratory problems. Several problems in transport have also made it difficult for the working class to report to their jobs. The routine economy of the city has been shaken to the core in the one week of disastrous smog.
Continuously rising Air Pollution Index has horrendously affected the environment of the area. The vehicular emissions, construction and industries, firecrackers, and diesel generators have pervasively and heavily poisoned the air resulting in the environmental dystopia that the city finds itself in right now.
The Death That Looms in the Air
Apart from the disturbing economic and environmental issues corollary of pollution, it has some of the worst health hazards. According to a study in the science journal, pollution resulted in 2.5 million deaths in India in 2015 — the highest anywhere in the world. There are enormous respiratory problems that people are facing due to the lethal smog. Doctors have deemed breathing the air as an equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. It has caused various casualties as well. The unclear sky has led to many accidents, adding to the deaths every day.
Increasing the chill of the severe winters that approach the city, the burning sensation in the eyes and the breathless feeling have made it difficult for the localites to survive the smog.
An issue of such gravity has to be tackled with the same amount of solemnity. It is not only the government’s responsibility to initiate measures of curbing, but also a sincere duty of the inhabitants of the affected area to take steps for prevention. The laws regarding factories and industries have to be revised and strictly executed in order to lower down on the harmful emissions. The number of air-quality monitoring stations needs to be increased for spreading awareness and regular monitoring. The common people can also contribute to the same by taking small steps such as using public transport, less outdoor burning activities, and generating awareness.
“Air pollution has become a common challenge for both China and India. Beijing has its own way to cope with it. New Delhi needs to find its method soon,” says Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times.