Air pollution in India

Namaskar Friends! Kanpur, Faridabad, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Delhi, Lucknow Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, and Gurgaon. These 10 cities have a very big achievement. They are the top 10 cities in India. You know why? In the realm of Air Pollution in India!

They’re not just the top 10 most polluted cities in India, but the World! That means in the entire world the most polluted cities are only these cities. And this shows how significant and pressing is the issue of air pollution in India.

But even then, you seldom see our government and politicians talking about air pollution. Not only that, you hardly ever see our media talking about air pollution in India.

In comparison to other parts of the world on Air pollution

 like London. Britain’s parliament members asked the assembly to declare London’s level of air pollution as a national health emergency! Wow! And friends, do you know the level of air quality levels in London? If we look at the PM 2.5 method which is a way to measure the air pollution of a region. In London, it is 20 micrograms per cubic meter, which is ‘2 times’ more than the limit (which is 10 micrograms per cubic meter).

And if we compare this with India to our 10 most polluted cities. Each of those cities has more than 110 micrograms per cubic meter! Can you even imagine? London’s parliament members want to declare a national health emergency when their air pollution reached 20. But in our cities, it has crossed 110 and our parliament members are completely quiet about this issue!

It is very clear that air pollution is a big crisis in our country and nobody is talking about it. So, I’m going to talk about it in this article. 

Air pollution India vs. China

To understand the situation of air pollution in India, it is important to understand China’s condition. Because at one point, China also used to have the World’s most polluted cities. But today have managed to improve a lot. You should look at some charts.

Air pollution India vs China (2005)
Air pollution India vs. China (2005) Source: Washington Post
Air pollution India vs China (2011)
Air pollution India vs. China (2011) Source: Washington Post
Air pollution India vs China (2015)
Air pollution India vs. China (2015) Source: Washington Post

These compare China and India in 2005, 2011 and 2015. They have used satellite data to do so.

You can see the difference between the two from 2005 to 2015, Did you see the graphs? Did you see how China reduced its air pollution from 2011 to 2015?

Statistically, according to Chinese data between 2012 to 2017 in just 5 years, they reduced their air pollution by 30%.

So, what has China done? This was possible due to China’s National Clean Air Programme, which included a national-level plan to reduce air pollution. And another regional plan for Beijing. Both programs had time-bound and specific plans.

For example, they targeted the environmentally disastrous coal industry in the next 5 years to reduce its pollution by 30%. It was a time-bound plan with a highly specified target stating ‘what’ and ‘how much’. This was the reason China successfully reduced its environmental harmful levels.

What are the actions of Government against Air pollution in India

On the other hand, In India, we had an air pollution crisis since 2005. But our governments didn’t even recognize this as a national problem! They didn’t accept that it is a problem! And so took no action on it!

Any steps that they took in those 10 years wherein Delhi which were small, scattered, unplanned, unconnected steps, with no time limit or specific targets.

Delhi air pollution

In the last few years, one attempt was made to introduce a time-bound plan. In 2015, the government asked all coal-based power plants would have to follow a new emission standard and they would be given two years to comply with and implement this new rule.

Fast forward to 2017, and friend you wouldn’t believe but not even one coal power plant adopted this new standard! Nobody listened to the government! And now the government, along with coal-based industries have extended the deadline to 5 more years!

17 April 2018,

this was the first time our government admitted that air pollution in India was a problem! Now we will know what has government done after accepting pollution as a problem. Our environment ministry prepared a draft report of the National Clean Air Programme. In which they state the steps they will take in the next few years to reduce air pollution. This is an achievement in itself. At least they acknowledged this problem!

NCAP (NATIONAL CLEAN AIR PROGRAMME)

Now let’s move on to seeing the good, the bad and any improvements. That is needed in NCAP draft

NCAP (NATIONAL CLEAN AIR PROGRAMME)
NCAP (NATIONAL CLEAN AIR PROGRAMME) Source: NRDC

GOOD THINGS

The good this is It focuses on In a lot of our cities we don’t have monitoring systems that measure the air pollution in the environment

Another good thing is So that our fight against air pollution is precautionary rather than being reactionary. This means that rather than waiting for the environment to be polluted to take steps. They reduce pollution our monitoring systems will be able to tell if the pollution is going to increase in the coming days/weeks.

So that we can prepare for it in advance. They have also talked about low-cost monitoring systems will be set-up in our cities. It includes a significant focus on indoor air quality, the pollution from our kitchens and homes.

BAD THINGS

Now, the problem with NCAP. This biggest problem is that our government has while the first draft had such plans, the latest one has no such mentions. There is no time-bound or specific target of an industry or a region. Most of its focus is to monitor the air quality.

Second, Pollution from the industries, coal power plant is ignored completely. The program focuses on 100 cities in the nation and despite being named ‘national’ clean air program.

It adds the responsibility of cleaning the air on the state government. And despite focusing on cities, it ignores Patna, Muzzafarpur, and Gaya. Although it was focusing only on cities and these cities are in the top ten most polluted cities in India still they are not focused upon. And so, there are so many major points missing in the NCAP that this policy can only work if these points are addressed.

So, I hope friends you like this blog. If you want to share your thoughts on air pollution and air quality in India, send an email on [email protected] Also, please share this interesting blog as you all know that air pollution has become a crisis in our country. See you now, Thank you!