Viewpoint: India's Air Emergency

11 NOV,2019 | MEDC


 

Delhi has acquired the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s pollution capital. It is a public health emergency situation as pollutants in the atmosphere have spiked to toxic levels. Seven of the ten most polluted cities in the world are in India (primarily North India) and we need to do some serious introspection on why this is so. It is unfortunate that the issue has been politicized, but we need to note that stubble burning in states adjoining Delhi is not the primary cause of pollution, despite it being a major contributory factor. Vehicular pollution accounts for more than a third of the problem, and it cannot be overlooked. The key challenge most Indian metros face pertains to their pollution levels, which need to be reduced by over 50% to meet basic clean air standards. Public transportation needs to be incentivized to minimize private vehicles choking the roads, and renewable energies (as opposed to polluting ones) ought to be strategically employed. If we are unable to do this, it is going to adversely impact economic growth. India has not been able to implement long-term reforms at the scale and speed with which they are required. In all fairness, the government has already done a fair amount to combat pollution. However, a lot more needs to be done, and soon, if such public emergencies are to be averted in future. Conviction and action are necessary to bring about the desired change. The ultimate stakeholders, the people of India, will need to force a public debate on this important issue. 

 

*Photo Credit: Google

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