What comes into your mind when you read the phrase; air pollution in India.
Obviously smoke-emitting chimneys of factories and silencer of vehicles. It comes to your mind because it is the root cause of air pollution all over the world. When we talk about a poor country like India then it becomes obvious.
You are right that unregulated silencers of vehicles and chimneys of factories are main causes of air pollution in India. But they are two of the three root causes.
Third one is equally lethal and widespread. It is burning of wood and biomass to cook food.
To a conservative estimate nearly 100 million out of 1.2 billion population of India relies on food cooked by conventional fire places.
So it is not the amount of gaseous emissions that causes air-borne diseases. It is equally proximity of people to this emissions by people that is the most dangerous for their lungs.
So who doesn’t know people especially the housemates are very closer to open burning in fireplace. Its smoke gets in breathing zone of people around it.
Owing to its rising energy needs it is not possible to shut them or switch them to renewable energy because of cost factor.
Its nasty effects could also be seen all over the India. Non-smokers suffering from various fatal lungs disease in this South Asian country are 30 per cent.
It shows how this brutal cause of air pollution in India is playing havoc with its people.
Mean reasons of air pollution in India
The two pipes that is silencer of vehicles and chimney of factories is widely un-regulated. It means the pollution control mechanism of India is unable to bring both these pipes into regulatory ambit.
In simple words its Central Pollution Control Board doesn’t have that much resources to help monitor each smoke-emitting vehicles and factory.
Indian government has also its own priorities. It instead of allocating budget for pollution control it tries to put more money for poverty alleviation and employment generation.
Its leaders have also same level of awareness level as those of other illiteracy-ridden countries have. Their advisors also don’t care to tell their decision makers that there is direct link of pollution with poverty.
Environmental awareness level in India
A handful of aware lot in India is also unheard as it is so in rest of the backward world. They do raise voice for the better environment but political lot doesn’t pay heed to it.
India has so many other problems that are taken more serious than pollution. So no political party like to put pollution control into its higher priority.
What is the status of environment in India could be learnt by its ranking in most polluted cities. Out of total 20 most polluted cities of the world 13 are from it.
New Delhi has been on top of the rank for several years. No signs in future it could improve its ambient air quality.
Slow pace of improvements
In view of all this it doesn’t mean nothing has been done to improve the situation. Its Pollution Control Board has been empowered and its outreach is broaden but it still is covering hardly 30 per cent of its jurisdiction.
It is unwise to say people have to play their role to control this menace. Poverty ridden people have no choice to switch to gas-run fireplace. It’s costly and also gas is not available in remote places.
The political leadership of India has to reshuffle its priority list. It has to put the environmental issue along with a few most urgent issues.
Diversion of maximum resources to environmental improvements means a step in right direction to mitigate poverty.
Else it will simply fight with poverty because from the other end rising level of pollution would be spilling its effects.