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A portrait on the air India breathes

By: Yash Verma and Ashutosh Thakur

India’s air quality has gotten worse over the years. The unregulated manufacturing industries, rapidly growing construction activities among others have contributed immensely to the extent that average air quality in the nation’s capital remains five times above WHO safe limit. 

air pollution in delhi
Image source: Flickr/ABWphoto!

The easing of manufacturing rules and regulations since 1991 has given immense benefits to consumers, and has contributed to a large extent in bringing world-class products to the nation. 

But there is a price to this growth 

However, most manufacturing industries, and plants have been unregulated, giving rise to harmful gases and particulate matter pollutants in the environment.

The severe increase in the cumulative spread of pollutants had a multi-pronged effect; from heart diseases to stunted mental growth.

What do you think are the largest factors contributing to the continuous rise in the level of air pollution in India? 

In general, most of the air pollution is contributed by the manufacturing industry, vehicular emissions, uncovered construction activities, as well as, farm residue burning. The worsening air quality has long-term effects and can be hardly reversed.

Apart from larger size particulate matter, i.e., 10 micrograms and larger, most of the pollutants can’t be seen by naked eyes, and are generally neglected in terms of policy as well as stringent measures to take against curbing the problem.

It’s futile to completely depend on plants as the pores are even smaller to trap pollutants, and the lack of actively drawing air towards the plants leaves most of the pollution freely floating in the air. 

Is there a way out? 

Since last decade, the awareness towards this issue has gained momentum, and different authorities have started demanding solutions to curbing this issue at its source, meanwhile, also protecting their indoor spaces with air purifiers, as well as face masks for outdoor activities. 

There have been many improvements in terms of measuring the air quality, and the same has been adopted and installed by the government as well as private institutions in 46 locations India wide, and indoor spaces. The innovation and adoption of newer technologies have given reasonable impetus to realizing the problem and taking measures to curb it. 

There are innovative solutions available, waiting to be regulated and adopted by governments and private bodies to curb the pollution emitted from the industries at the source – we would like to emphasize that the cumulative air pollutants in outdoor spaces can only be curbed if it gets trapped at the source, because, once released in the environment, it becomes impossible to reduce or eliminate the pollutants. 

Once the policies & dedicated technologies considering the sources of air pollution have been regulated and adopted comprehensively, there have been precedences in other countries where such measures have yielded successful results and people are able to live in a clean and safe environment.

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.) 

Yash Verma and Ashutosh Thakur

Ashutosh Thakur is the Chief Executive Officer and Yash Verma is the Chief Operating Officer at Schillings Air

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