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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.
Tushant Juneja, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Air quality has a strong bearing on India’s ability to sustain economic growth, but national policy has given this issue little importance. A new report from Greenpeace, based on NASA’s satellite data, indicates that people living in some parts of India are at greater risk for health problems linked to deteriorating air quality than those living in China.Central Pollution Control board has also pointed out to the worsening conditions a number of time in the last few years. It is high time that the Center enforces some control mechanisms that will make the air safe to breathe. This has to begin with a more comprehensive system of real-time data collection. Putting the data in the public domain in an open format will enable people to discuss the problems openly and build pressure on both policymakers and polluters.
High levels of particulate matter in cities arise from construction and demolition activity, burning of coal in thermal plants, as also biomass, and from the widespread use of diesel vehicles, among other sources. The responsibility to tackle these issues is the State’s, and given the worsening conditions, one can say that they are not taking their responsibility seriously. Greater transparency in data reporting and public awareness hold the key to change. Technological solutions to contain construction dust are equally critical, as is the low-cost solution of covering all urban surfaces with either greenery or paving. Widespread burning of biomass for cooking can be avoided if the government encourages innovation in solar cookers. Cheap, clean-burning stoves can have a considerable effect as well. The transformation of cities through good public transport and incentives for the use of cycles and electric vehicles should also be considered. There is little doubt that the worsening air quality in Indian cities is already affecting the lives of the very young and the elderly. It is time India come together and do something about it.