Air pollution in India is one of the major concerns and a challenge for the government and the people. Pollution pertains harmful effect on the earth’s surface and atmospheric variation with substances that interfere with human health, well being or the normal functioning of the ecosystems. The major types of contamination include water contamination, air pollution, noise pollution, and dirt contamination.
Air pollution is a significant global public health issue that’s managed most effectively by collective actions to control emissions of the two main air pollutants and precursors which react to form secondary air pollutants.
In 2019, a World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that fourteen of the twenty world’s most polluted cities belonged to India. Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, emerged as the city with the highest PM2.5 level, standing at 173 (17 times higher than the limit set for safety). It is estimated that in 2016, over 9 lakh deaths were caused due to air pollution in India. Some other cities with high PM 2.5 levels include Faridabad, Varanasi, Gaya, Patna, Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Lucknow, Ghaziabad and Agra. Delhi, as the capital of the country, too gained a notorious reputation as a result of its severely poor air quality.
Air Pollution in India, has increased rapidly because of overpopulation, rise in the number of vehicles, usage of fossil fuels, poorly managed public transportation systems, bad land use pattern, industrialization, and ineffective environmental regulations. One of the most important reasons for air contamination in India is vehicle emissions. Pollutants like Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, and Particulate matter is generated by the combustion of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal in addition to other mill combustibles. These pollutants, when added into the air, have a natural warming effect and become a health hazard for biodiversity.
India’s air pollution crisis is noxious, especially in Delhi during winters and a few cities in central and north India. Agricultural activities in the Indian states like Punjab has two growing seasons, one is from May to Sept and another is from Nov to April, which adds to the air contamination in Delhi NCR. Slash and burn agriculture is accountable for the loss of about 50 acres of soil every hour worldwide. Among the issues having slash and burn is that fires deliberately set can unwittingly spread through the forest. When fire spreads into unintended areas, the canopy of the protective woods is destroyed. The resulting sunlight exposure to the woods floor intensifies the existing fire. The smoke then hangs over the forest, and inhibits rain, making it even more challenging to extinguish as the region becomes drier. Throughout the dry season, the issues having a slash and burn agriculture are intensified. Even though there are many, complex issues surrounding the use of slash and burn agriculture, the underlying rationale for that the practice is quite simple! that the soil in the forest is infertile, much to that the dismay million of farmers working on that poor soil of tropical forests. For the impoverished farmers, the simplest solution to this issue is to cut the trees down, and burn what remains. Moreover, Ammonia used which is a common by-product from agriculture-related activities and is among the most hazardous gases, released in the atmosphere. Use of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers in agricultural activities has grown extensively, which adds to soil and water contamination. Dry lands (land with a little to no vegetation because of lack of precipitation), provides a perfect platform to form a dust storm.
Forests play many important ecological roles. From animals-providing medication, food and livelihoods to the values of woods, for people around the globe, providing homes and helping to mitigate climate change, these powerhouses are irreplaceable and in danger. Forests cover 31% of our planet, the Amazon rainforest is home to thousands of species of creatures and plants. Despite everything forests, they’re being cut down at an alarming speed. Each year 46-58 thousand sq miles of forest are lost in deforestation, which is equal to a football field of forest disappearing every moment.
Many have hope that with the changes in perception and policy, tress can be saved, to become eco-conscious is a responsibility each and everyone needs to realize. Together we can change and improve the air quality but one thing is sure that until and unless we are conscious about our actions towards nature we will not take it seriously. Let’s all come forward and plant trees which is one of the most important step we can take to fight air pollution.