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India Needs Collaboration, Continuity To Solve Air Pollution Problem: Experts

The worsening air quality in Delhi-NCR forced the apex court of the country to step in and take cognizance of air pollution in the national capital

India Needs Collaboration, Continuity To Solve Air Pollution Problem: Experts
According to experts, there should be a plan to decrease air pollution from all sources on a long-term basis rather than just taking emergency measures
Highlights
  • In the last 10 days, Delhi has seen extreme severe air quality: Expert
  • In the last six years, Delhi witnessed only 10 good air days: Expert
  • Urgent need for pollution control but lockdown is extreme: Expert

New Delhi: With Delhi’s air quality index fluctuating between severe and very poor category, environment activists and health experts expressed concern over the situation and said that unless there is collaboration and continuity, the country would not be able to solve the crisis. The experts also stated that there should be a plan to decrease pollution from all sources on a long-term basis rather than just taking emergency measures.

Also Read: Supreme Court Orders ‘Work From Home’ Over Air Pollution In Indian Capital Delhi

Vimlendu Jha, an environmental activist told ANI, “In the last 10 days, Delhi has seen extreme severe air quality. The average was 500.” The worsening air quality in Delhi-NCR forced the apex court of the country to step in and take cognizance of the national capital’s Air Quality Index (AQI) on Saturday.

Situation has improved not because of Supreme Court’s judgement, but because of the wind. Air pollution needs concerted efforts; every stakeholder needs to come together to solve the crisis because it’s not a crisis of 2021, but the one that has been there for the last 10 years, Mr Jha added.

As stubble burning is believed to be the major contributor to the deteriorating air quality, Mr Jha is of the view that it is a perennial issue and in the last six years, Delhi has only witnessed 10 good air days which are under the 50 range.

It is definitely a failure of the government when you have to shut down a city because of air pollution. Delhi’s air pollution crisis is not a surprise. Until and unless there is a collaboration and continuity, we won’t be able to solve the crisis, he said.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court lashed out at the Centre and Delhi government for the severe AQI. Supreme Court told Centre, “Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live?” SC observed that now it has become a fashion to bash the farmers whether it’s the Delhi government or someone else.

Also Read: Meet Earthshot Prize Winner Whose Innovation Can Address Air Pollution

There was a ban on firecrackers. What happened with that?” the apex court had asked. Reacting to the apex court’s assessment that stubble burning is not the only cause of pollution, and vehicular pollution and dust have an equally high contribution, Dr Neetu Jain, a Senior Consultant of Pulmonology at PSRI Hospital said,

“While there is an urgent need for control of pollution, lockdown will be extreme. There should be a plan to decrease pollution from all sources on a long-term basis rather than doing emergency measures when the situation becomes unbearable.” Dr Amarinder Singh Malhi, Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Radiology and Endovascular Interventions at AIIMS said that deteriorating air quality has a direct link between air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, especially the coronary vessels.

Harmful elements present in the air pollutants lead to various and multiple cardiovascular diseases be it artery blockages (arterial occlusion) or death of heart tissue due to oxygen deprivation and many of these lead to permanent heart damage (myocardial infarction) as well. We need to actually act now. The geriatric population in more than 65 years age group is at added risk for sure, he said.

Delhi’s air quality on Sunday improved marginally as the air quality in the national capital reached ‘very poor’ category with Air Quality Index (AQI) at 386 (overall), according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). In October, the Commission for Air Quality Management in Delhi and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) deployed teams that found that out of 6,596 construction sites, more than 963 were violating dust control norms. When the weather plummets, dust from most of its sources becomes visible in the air. The vapour is more visible in the air and the levels of pollution increase in the winters.

Also Read: Factbox: What’s In The Glasgow UN Climate Pact?

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity,  that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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