India overtakes China, in terms of air pollution!

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Dhruv Shah, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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India has overtaken China in an aspect, which should induce introspection than celebration. As per the analysis of the international environment NGO Greenpeace of NASA’s satellite data on particulate matter from 2003 to 2015 in India and China, the exposure to particulate matter and the risk of eventual health hazards to people living in Indian cities was more than those living in China in 2015. Simply put, Indian cities were more polluted than Chinese cities in the year 2015.

ACTION PLAN AHEAD:

The Indian government must wake up to the growing menace of air pollution that is eating into the productivity and wellness of its population. While we have taken clues from China on its manufacturing policies and special economic zones, we must certainly study the National Action Plan which it successfully implemented to curb pollution. Initiatives which incentivize the use of clean fuel like solar power for cooking and electric power for vehicles must find a place in the national policy; perhaps including them in the upcoming Union Budget will be a great start. More immediate steps to control the dust from construction activity have to be taken, like exploring better construction techniques and imposing fines on those violating the norms. Public transport needs to be augmented in a major way to decrease the number of cars on roads, and even public transport itself needs to be made more eco-friendly by bringing in metro trains over buses. Public initiatives like the Car-free day or Odd-Even schemes may have limited impact, but can be used as tools to spread awareness among people to shun their vehicles and adopt bicycles and car-pooling.

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