As the world’s largest democracy undergoes general elections whose results are out in a few days, air pollution managed to find a mention in the manifestos of major political parties. While Congress promised an action agenda that will place India at the forefront of the battle against global warming, BJP promised to convert the National Clean Air Plan into a mission and focus on 102 most polluted cities in the country. The manifesto of AAP promises induction of electric buses and vacuum cleaning of roads, compliance with construction rules and increased citizen participation to address the pollution problem. But is it enough? More than a few people have pointed out, India’s one-and-a-half month long election has not seen much attention devoted to climate change, even though, it is one of the most urgent problems of our time
Read what Chetan Bhattacharji, Managing Editor, NDTV 24×7 has to say about Air Pollution and why its crisis should be a big issue this Elections.
According to a data compiled by IQAir AirVisual 2018 World Air Quality Report with Greenpeace Southeast Asia, 22 of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India. Air pollution was also the reason for more than 12 lakh premature deaths in India in 2017 as per State of Global Air report 2019.
In India, air pollution fails to alarm public representatives. Members of parliament from 14 most polluted Indian cities ranked by WHO, largely remained “inactive” and “silent” on the issue, according to an April 2019 report titled “Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India” by Climate Trends, a Delhi-based advocacy.
Experts say that to deal with rising air pollution, the new government must implement activities in a transparent manner with adequate budgets and strict timelines.