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Air Pollution

Scientists Identify Paths For Reducing Air Pollution In India

Countries in South Asia, including India have substantial emissions and associated air pollution and mortality burden

Scientists Identify Paths For Reducing Air Pollution In India
The study found that solid biofuel is the leading combustible fuel contributing to the PM2.5-attributable mortality, followed by coal and oil and gas

New Delhi: Researchers have evaluated the contribution of various emission sectors and fuels to small particulate matter (PM2.5) for 29 states in India and six surrounding countries, identifying potential pathways to reduce air pollution and improve population health across South Asia. The results, published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, identify primary organics—organic particles emitted directly into the atmosphere from various sources—as the main drivers of high concentrations of PM2.5 in these countries.

PM2.5 are fine inhalable pollution particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller. Study’s first author Deepangsu Chatterjee, a doctoral student at Washington University in St. Louis, US, said,

Countries in South Asia have substantial emissions and associated air pollution and mortality burden. Our study shows that over 1 million deaths in South Asia attributable to ambient PM2.5 in 2019 were primarily from residential combustion, industry and power generation.

Also Read: 39 Of World’s 50 Most Polluted Cities Are In India: World Air Quality Report

The study found that solid biofuel is the leading combustible fuel contributing to the PM2.5-attributable mortality, followed by coal and oil and gas. Study co-author Michael Brauer, professor at the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia, Canada, said,

Air pollution, both indoors and outdoors, is the leading risk factor for death in South Asia. Understanding the major contributing sources is a critical first step towards management of this serious problem.

A major challenge in evaluating the impacts of PM2.5 is understanding how it is produced and distributed over time.

The researchers combined global emission inventories, satellite-derived fine surface particulate matter estimates and state-of-the-art global scale modeling capabilities to develop regional simulations.

They also accounted for long-range transport to understand how different emission sectors and fuels contributed to PM2.5 and associated mortality rates, Randall Martin from the Washington University, said,

Advances in modeling atmospheric composition with constraints from satellite remote sensing enabled our assessment of the sources of PM2.5 across South Asia. That helped draw our attention to large contributions from burning biofuel and coal.

Mr Chatterjee also noted that PM2.5 mass composition in South Asia is driven by primary organics across major contributing sectors.

The team’s PM2.5 composition analysis can be particularly useful to develop mitigation strategies associated with particular species.

A few other notable features include high contribution from coal in central and eastern India, higher household air pollution in north-east and central India, biofuel contributions in Bangladesh and open fires in Myanmar, the researchers said.

This study shows that the air pollution problem in South Asia is not just an urban scale problem, so policies targeted at urban scale development will not be enough to mitigate the national level PM2.5 exposure Mr Chatterjee said.

The researchers suggest several strategies for future interventions throughout South Asia, including policies encouraging the replacement of traditional fuel sources with sustainable sources of energy.

Also Read: Air Pollution: How Effective Has National Clean Air Programme Been In Improving Air Quality?

(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 the 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, which 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 toiletsare 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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