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Air Pollution: Nip it Now

A lot of rural India still uses fossil fuels such as coal, charcoal, and wood for cooking and heating purposes, which needs to be stop

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Breathing clean air is a fundamental right and the irony is that all of us are still breathing impure air. Air pollution causes cancer, heart problems, shortened lifespan, brain disorders in infants and the aged, the list of health issues is endless. Yet, for decades the problem has not received the kind of attention that such a serious issue demands but has turned into a market for businesses. Perhaps the environmental bodies may have gauged the intensity of the issue but did not get the required support which has resulted in the issue growing more acute with each passing year. The existing laws to address this issue seem to lack a comprehensive view and enforcement of these laws is not strict. The bottom line is that such a serious concern with such drastic health impacts for all living being has occupied a backseat for all these years. Now when the situation gets worse by the days and when the masses are feeling the heat, there people are looking to adopt go-green concept or have fallen prey to marketing tactics of air purifier companies which can be a temporary solution but not a permanent one as not everyone can afford these purifiers or masks. 

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Presence of industrial plants, heavy traffic, an increasing number of cars on the roads, burning of coal, wood for cooking and other purposes. Similarly, stubble burning in the farms blanket the communities, schools, and homes in layers of pollution.  

It is high time that the vehicles being used on roads follow the latest standards to curb pollution. The environmental bodies need to equip themselves with the latest and most sophisticated methods and machines to be able to create the best standards with a long-term perspective. Use of vehicles that employ alternative fuel sources such as using ethanol with gasoline, natural gas, electricity i.e. battery operated cars wherein the batteries are charged with electricity generated through renewable means need to be mandated. The green projects need impetus from different sources.

A lot of rural India still uses fossil fuels such as coal, charcoal, and wood for cooking and heating purposes.  A global report on Household Air Pollution and Health by the World Health Organization, a few years back, mentioned that more than 50% of premature deaths in children below five are due to pneumonia. This is due to the inhalation of particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution. The report also stressed that more than 3.8 million premature deaths take place every year because of non-communicable diseases from household air pollution.

Paradoxes to be dealt with

Often when the levels of the pollution are high the industries close for a while however there is a dire need to address these problems at a fundamental level through a thorough examination and inspection of the processes being followed, the materials being used and produced in the process. The wastes being generated need to be analyzed and innovative ways of handling them must be devised.

We in urban areas have access to air purifiers and masks to diminish the impact of air pollution both indoors and outdoors. These solutions address the effects of air pollution which is not what our fundamental approach should be. They may be able to provide some respite to the city dwellers but what about the people in villages. If we don't address these issues at a fundamental level we may face these issues at a higher degree for which the use of gadgets and masks may be futile.

Are you ready for more Devastating effects

Not only do we lack a head-on approach to attack this grave problem at its roots, but our understanding of the repercussions of the problem is shallow. This all-pervasive problem needs to be addressed at a multidimensional level by government authorities, institutes by promoting research, adopting innovative approaches which are inclusive and can handle the huge scale of the issue. It demands strong commitment and involvement at all levels. Since the issue was not comprehensively addressed when it was noticed, it has grown over the decades, and even now if it is not resolved starting at the most basic level, it is sure to infest our lives in even more detrimental and unimaginable ways. Hence, a movement is launched on social media to tackle the situation #airpollutionmuktdelhi to generate awareness and build a team of pollution warriors.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Vneet P Yadav

The author is Social Activist & Philanthropist

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