Poor air quality: India must take urgent mitigation measures - The Tribune India

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Poor air quality

India must take urgent mitigation measures

Poor air quality

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



THE latest World Air Quality Report paints a stark picture: India faces the ignominy of being the third most polluted country globally, with New Delhi retaining its unenviable position as the capital city with the poorest air quality. Begusarai in Bihar has emerged as the globe’s ‘most polluted metropolitan area’. In 2023, Delhi’s PM2.5 (particulate matter) levels surged to 92.7 micrograms per cubic metre, signalling an urgent need for intervention. The crisis is widespread as a staggering 96 per cent of the Indians are breathing air whose quality doesn’t meet the WHO’s safety standards.

While initiatives such as banning older vehicles have seen some success, more concerted efforts are needed to curb crop residue burning and industrial as well as vehicular emissions. Air pollution is not merely an environmental concern; it is also a public health emergency. Exposure to PM2.5 and other pollutants leads to respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular diseases and even premature death. The economic impact is staggering, with healthcare costs soaring and productivity declining.

The political blame game over the findings is not only counterproductive but also detracts from the urgency in addressing the crisis. The Central and state governments must formulate comprehensive policies aimed at reducing emissions. This necessitates investment in cleaner technologies, stringent enforcement of regulations and public awareness campaigns. Collaborative efforts at the international level can facilitate the exchange of best practices, technology transfer and financial support for developing nations struggling to tackle the menace. People can do their bit by using public transportation and reducing energy consumption. The harmful effects of air pollution must be mitigated to pave the way for a sustainable future.

#Bihar


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