Pollution is a major concern in countries all over the world. In Asia, China has long held the title for having a polluted smoggy environment. Now it seems that India has caught up with its neighbour. Housing ten of the world’s most polluted cities, the South Asian country is in grave danger and faces the mammoth task of restoring these cities’ natural air.
Citizens of major metropolitan cities have already begun to fall prey to diseases caused by rampant air pollution. They are disgruntled because the government is ignoring their welfare in favour of economic growth when it is impossible for a country to progress if its citizens are suffering every day.
India’s Struggle with Air Pollution
India has not managed to organise a coordinated national movement against pollution like China. Under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the government is introducing initiatives that might help reduce the hazardous air plaguing the common people. However, pollution is increasing each day because of the growing sources of air contaminants.
Winter is always a tough time to keep pollution under control, and that is when the government’s policies will face their actual test. Farmers burn their crops in bundles during this time. Moreover, the succession of festivals causes people to play with fireworks which can prove to be disastrous for pollution levels. If India manages to win this battle, they will be better for it because it will save much money in productivity losses and healthcare fees.
India might be a growing economy, but even a large economy like China has not been able to get rid of pollution completely. Air pollution is dangerous because it puts everyone’s lives at risk. Even people who have never smoked a single cigarette in their life develop lung cancer. The number of patients with asthma and heart problem has also risen over the last decade. China is trying its best to make a smooth transition by switching to services and devices that cause less pollution.
Unlike China, where the people themselves began to rebel against pollution and started demanding improvement, India still has not seen a rising of the common people against the worsening condition. It might be because Indians are yet to understand how hazardous air pollution can truly be. Even the government is hesitant to believe some of the international studies which talk about the connection between air pollution and mortality because they do not find it ‘realistic’ enough. They want to launch a more thorough investigation and conduct original studies about it.
What does the future hold?
According to India’s environment ministry, their efforts have borne fruit, but there is still a long way to go. They have introduced early warning systems so that hazardous situations can be brought under control before they spiral out. Harsh Vardhan, who is the Federal Minister looking after the environment and climate change, has made it clear that the government knows there is a lot to be done. Environmentalists, on the other hand, are lobbying for a national clean air plan.