Why India tops in the world for bad air quality?


Air pollution level remains high in many parts of the world. According to the data released by world health organization on global air pollution, India tops in the world for bad air quality. Among the 15 most polluted cities in the world, 14 cities are related to India in terms of PM2.5 concentrations. The worst is the Kanpur followed by several other cities such as Delhi, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gurgaon, Jaipur, Faridabad, Varanasi, and Gaya etc. The situation is very alarming as close to 7 million people die every year due to the ambient and household air pollution.

The presence of toxic chemicals or compounds in the air that pose a health risk to human is called air pollution. Simply, it is a mixture of harmful liquid droplets, solids and toxic gases like carbon oxide, nitrogen and sulfur gases, inorganic substances, bacteria, viruses, insecticides etc. Natural & man-made sources are the causes of air pollution. The most common natural phenomenon where the origin of these particles occurs is volcanoes, dust storms, forest and grassland fires etc. Various human activities such as burning of fossil fuels in vehicles and cooking food, various industrial process, and power plants are also responsible for the occurrence of these particles.

India tops in the world for bad air quality


What are PM 2.5 and PM 10?

“PM” refers to particulate matter i.e. particles in the air are micro-level solid or liquid substance suspended in Earth's environment. Particles equal to 2.5 or less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are called PM2.5. Particles equal to 10 or less than 10 micrometers in diameter are called PM10.  Between these two particles, PM2.5 is more dangerous than PM10 because the size of PM2.5 particles is very small and they can travel more deeply into our lungs and cause harmful effects. A long exposure of PM2.5 causes several types of problems such as irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath, asthma, heart disease etc.


What are the Air Quality Standards and prime factors of Pollution in India?

As per the Air act of 1981, Central Pollution Control Board is accountable for setting the standards of ambient air quality. The air quality measurement is based on eight pollutants, namely, PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb. The worst reading in these pollutants represents the Air Quality Index for that city. The air quality index of India is very bad and India is at the top of the list in the world for the poor air quality.  As per the environment performance index in2018, India is among the bottom five countries and it ranks 177 out of 180. There are several factors responsible for poor air quality in India. We have tried to summarize few major reasons.

  The exhaust from the vehicles is contributing approximately 30% of India’s air pollution.

  Large-scale construction in entire India is also contributing to the pollution

  Another important factor is the burning of household or industrial wastes in the open areas.

  The burning of fossil fuels in the diesel generators and the power plants also responsible for the pollution.

  The burning of crops by the farmers is one of the prime reasons for bad air quality of India in the world.

India tops in the world for bad air quality

What are the solutions to India’s air pollution?

There are several factors contributing to the air pollution of India. To handle this problem, contribution from every citizen of India is required. Few solutions to combat air pollution are listed below.

  Vehicles are the prime contributor to the air pollution so it is advisable to use the public transport as much as possible. Carpooling is the other option to reduce the fumes coming out from the vehicles. The 3rd best possible option is to have electric vehicles on the road as early as possible.

  The cleaner fuels must be used. Electricity is one of them.

  Agricultural residues must be used for the power generation. Apart from this, there are several       eco-friendly methods for power generation such as solar power, hydropower, wave power, tidal power etc.

Currently, India is at the top in the world for the poor air quality but after adopting several measures like these will help in the improvement of air quality of India.

Conclusion

In the current context, the air quality of India is very poor in the world but we all are accountable for this bad air quality. Being a responsible citizen of India, it is now our prime responsibility to take one step forward in the development of our country.  Carpooling, electric vehicles use, planting trees and promote the use of public transport are some small key steps help our country to combat air pollution.


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