India staring at about 1.2 million air pollution related fatalitiesby OPINIONEXPRESS.IN April 4, 2019 0 comments
A resecut study shows that an estimated 3 million deaths worldwide will be caused due to air pollution, with the figure for India alone being 1.2 million
For a few years now, residents of Delhi and other cities in North India have known that the air they breathe every winter is killing them. This is why the business of selling air purifiers is the fastest growing segment in consumer durables and now many outdoor workers such as policemen and even municipal workers are issued with face masks. The air in Delhi-NCR is deadly with the Air Quality Index hovering above the hazardous level for days on end. While we knew that breathability in Delhi and indeed in many Indian cities, including the ones as far-flung from the capital such as Kolkata and Hyderabad, was linked to pollution issues, we did not know how it impacted us. Now a study called the ‘State of Global Air’ (SOGA), conducted by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), has made the impact of poor air very clear. The average child born in South Asia will lose two years and six months of his life span due to the poor air that he will breathe. Worse still, over 1.2 million Indians died prematurely due to air pollution in 2017. This compels a severe relook at the way we live considering that the carbon overload is a consequence of our modern conveniences, the electricity that drives our lives and the transport that connects us. But people are not willing to give up these modern conveniences. In fact, as they become richer in countries like India, the demands on the environment will be even more pronounced as they buy and consume more products. That is the dichotomy in environmental protection; you cannot ask people climbing the economic ladder to consume less, yet policy makers know the statistics of how this amounts to slow poisoning.
So what can be done? There are really no simple solutions and much of the groundwork has already started. India is moving away from a primarily coal-fired thermal power sector to using more renewables such as wind and solar. With regard to vehicular pollution, we sped up the introduction of stricter emission norms and are moving forward on promoting cleaner hybrid and electric vehicles. In Delhi, large-scale air purification systems have been installed at major traffic junctions. While policy makers are doing their bit and even some manufacturers have joined in, as citizens we must do our bit. We have to pollute less, use more efficient devices and vehicles that reduce effluents and keep our residences clean so that dust and smoke can be controlled. We are the ones who have to realise that if we fail at this, our children and humanity might pay a huge price.
Courtesy: The Pioneer