Pollution has always been a problem in India, but it's definitely disheartening to hear that India has slipped 32 ranks in the global Environment Performance Index (EPI) 2014, and its capital Delhi gets a dubious tag of being the world's most polluted city. This shows how our country has failed to protect the citizens from environmental harm that exists in today's society.
Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said, “The two main reasons for the increase in pollution are - first one is the rise in number of vehicles in Delhi, and the second thing is that the government is not doing much to control air pollution.”
The pollution levels in Delhi are increasing, but likewise, pollution levels in Beijing are also high, but they are investing much on pollution control, added Bhushan.
A Yale University study also described India’s air pollution as worst in the world, tying with China in terms of the proportion of population exposed to average air pollution levels, which are exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds as well.
And an even in-depth research was done by NASA, which showed that Delhi had the highest particulate matter, 2.5 pollution levels followed by Beijing, and this is the reason behind the dense smog that has been engulfing Delhi during the winters, which has a adverse health implications, as reported by Hindustan Times.
In 2002, when similar condition had arisen in Delhi, the Supreme Court introduced CNG buses, but it just had a momentary gain, and we were again heading towards the dark days.
When asked about the pollution control measures that needs to be taken, Bhushan said, ''There is no scope of short term gain now, as we have crossed that limit. Now the government has to take strict actions, and should decrease the number of diesel vehicles from the road. The emission norms of vehicles should be made much more stringent.''
He also emphasised on the investment on public transport such as buses, metros, mono-rails, so that people instead of driving in car or motorcycles can go to their place of work by public transport. “Government also has to manage the traffic well, and such exercises are needed to be done to control this pollution hazard,” said Bhushan.
According to a study by Global Burden of Disease 2013, which tracks death and illnesses from all causes every 10 years shows that air pollution is the largest killer in India after high blood pressure. One in every three people in India live in critically-polluted areas that have noxious levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and lung-clogging particulate matter larger than 10 micron (PM10) in size.