India’s toxic air condition worsens, below pollution standards in 132 cities – World Affairs SRS

India’s toxic air condition worsens, below pollution standards in 132 cities

– World Affairs SRS

India is failing in its efforts to improve the quality of toxic air, as the number of smog-ridden cities grows since a national program was launched to tackle the issue.

According to a report by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, when the National Clean Air Program began in 2019, a total of 132 cities from 102 cities now have pollution levels below national standards.

CREA said limited funding, lack of strict emissions standards for industries from metal smelters to oil refineries, and slow progress on adding monitoring stations, are all factors hindering air quality improvement work, CREA said.

In the report, authors Shivansh Ghildiyal and Sunil Dahiya said the Indian government should “start a war-scale action” to achieve the target to curb pollution. “Strong measures should be taken in all sectors to reduce the emission load.”

More than 90% of India’s population lives in areas where air quality is below World Health Organization standards, with coal-fired power plants, factories and vehicles being the major sources of pollution. The problem is compounded by farmers burning crop stubble during winters, usually leading to a blanket of suffocating smog in northern cities, including the capital New Delhi.

Slow progress in tackling pollution risks, premature civilian deaths – an estimated 1.67 million deaths in 2019 as a result of India’s filthy air – and high health expenditures and productivity losses put pressure on the country’s economy. Poor air quality also affects the country’s image as a business destination, potentially hindering investment.

India’s national strategy aims to reduce particulate matter emissions by 30% from 2017 levels by 2024, although some cities and no state-level authority in the country have yet given an action plan, said the CREA report. .

Dahiya said in an interview, because the sources of pollution can vary from city to city, it is important to intensify the work on the study of air quality at different places. “Knowing that for each source could lead to a more efficient use of time and money in tackling the problem,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has previously faced criticism for extending the deadline for power plants to implement pollution standards, and has yet to set a date for reducing coal consumption, which is the country’s largest economy. produces 70% of the electricity.

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