An estimated 18 million healthy life years are lost every year due to pollution related diseases. And in Delhi alone, every third child’s lungs are impaired because of it. We’re ruining the lives of our future generation.Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment
The fifth biggest killer in the country continues to be at large and we don’t seem to be too fazed by it. In 2016, India’s air quality over the Diwali weekend was among the world’s worst. The pollution from firecrackers, coupled with crop burning and already existing factors like dust from construction, vehicles and factories accentuated the problem tenfold.
With the winter months coming in and Diwali being around the corner, we’re likely to witness the familiar smog, maybe not as severe as last year, but deadly nonetheless.
The Quint went to the most polluted area of Delhi a few days before Diwali and asked people if they knew about the levels of pollution they were living in. We asked them how it affects them and what solutions they have to this massive problem.
Are We Doing Enough or Anything At All?
Speaking to The Quint, Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment and the head of their Clean Air Programme said:
Delhi-NCR needs to reduce its pollution levels by 74 percent if it wants to come down to the prescribed safe limits. And it’s not just the capital, there are many cities which are more polluted at different times.
Other than the Graded Response Action Plan, which the authorities have to follow once the air quality enters ‘very poor’ levels, not many precautionary measures are undertaken either by the governments or the public. Shutting one power plant in Badarpur for a while won’t be enough.
Reactionary measures can only help so much, but to combat the severe situation that India faces, way more stringent measures need to be taken, says Roychowdhury.
The scenarios India and China face are different. But we can do a lot to learn from them. China reduced it’s pollution levels considerably by implementing stringent measures. And if India wants to stop breathing such toxic air, the government needs to take strong action which then needs to be fully supported by the public.Anumita Roychowdhury, Centre for Science and Environment
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