Causes of Air pollution in India :-

  • Increasing usage of Automobiles.
  • Dust kicked up by vehicles moving on roads.
  • Increasing constructions and demolitions of buildings.
  • Increasing demand for houses is leading to deforestation, which is worsening the quality of air further.
  • Industrialization.
  • Burning of crop residue. This is highly prevalent in Punjab and Haryana.
  • Burning of garbage.
  • Still many Indians are using firewood and cow dung for cooking.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions due to burning of biomass residue.
  • Usage of diesel vehicles.
  • Adulterated fuel blends by many Indian taxis and auto rickshaws. These adulterants increase emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles, worsening urban air pollution.

Effects of Air pollution :-

  • Negative impact on health of humans as well as other living beings. Mainly, children and old people are vulnerable to adverse health effects caused by air pollution.
  • Air pollution is the leading environment cause of death. In 2015, India reported 11 lakh deaths due to air pollution.
  • Increase in spread of non-communicable diseases due air pollution has accounted for 62% of the total diseases in India.

Steps Taken by Indian Government :-

  • Government of India enacted the “Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)” under article 253 of the constitution after the dreadful incident of Bhopal gas tragedy.
  • Indian government removed subsidies for polluting cooking gases to improve access to clean fuel for household cooking.
  • The Delhi government has tried odd-even rule to reduce air pollution.
  • Supreme Court banned registrations of diesel cars above 2000cc in Delhi, which is one of the highest air polluted cities of India.
  • Indian government banned firecrackers on weddings.
  • Burning of solid waste is banned.

What more needs to be done :-

  • Allocation of more funds for afforestation projects.
  • Betterment of public transportation.
  • Enhancing the quality of roads.
  • Encouraging community forests.
  • Incentives for Eco-friendly buildings.
  • Encouraging the usage of clean fuels.
  • Investing more in energy generation from renewable resources.
  • Encouraging work from home culture to reduce vehicular pollution.

Best Practices in Other Countries:-

  • ‘Paris’ has set few good practices such as implementing odd-even bans on vehicles, making public transport free during high pollution days and encouraging car & bike-pooling.
  • ‘Netherlands’ is working on plans to to ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars from 2025 and allowing only electric or hydrogen vehicles.
  • ‘Copenhagen’ now has more bicycles than people.

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