The Most polluted country
Some of the highest levels of pollution in the world are found in Indian cities. Even worse, these levels keep rising every year, with no end in sight. According to WHO’s Global Air Pollution database, 14 of the world’s 15 most polluted cities are from India. Kanpur, with a population of over three million people tops the list with the highest PM 2.5 concentration. PM 2.5 particles are polluting particles from sources like open flames and diesel exhaust, which can linger in the air longer and penetrate deeper into the lungs than larger particles, which is why they’re the most concerning and also the basis for determining how polluted the air is. Truth be said, “India is the most polluted country in the world”, Sad! but true…
Air pollution is present in almost every country, but the worst pollution these days is gathering in developing countries that have rapidly growing population. India, of course, tops this as the second most populous country in the world making big strides in technological advancements and general development.
Scores of Indian cities are suffering from severe air pollution, but many of the contaminants that accumulate over the metro regions and big cities originate in rural areas, which are just as badly affected by poor air, if not more so. In 2015, about 75 percent of deaths linked to air pollution in India, some 1.1 million people, occurred in rural areas.
Two-thirds of India’s people are still rural dwellers, and 80 percent of them rely on biomass like wood and dung for cooking and heating. Agricultural practices like slash and burn agriculture also remain extensive.
The smoke generated from these practices can linger over major cities surrounding the villages such as Chennai and Mumbai, where existing pollution levels are already high; and it mingles with traffic exhaust, factory emissions, and construction dust. India’s mountainous topography sometimes acts as trap for the toxic air over large expanses of land in the country, sometimes making the air too hazardous to breathe.
13 Illegal polluting industries sealed /demolished in loni by SDM/ pollution / GDA team pic.twitter.com/dBQpJvTWi6
— DM Ghaziabad (@dm_ghaziabad) May 24, 2018
“This region is land-locked — pollution cannot dissipate quickly — and does not have the advantage of the coast like Mumbai or Chennai,” Anumita Roy Chowdhury, head of the air pollution and clean transportation program at the Delhi-based advocacy organization Center for Science and Environment. “Also, a lot of the smaller cities have poor waste management, there is a lot of burning, solid fuel use, they are moving from non-motorised to motorised transport. Chulhas [cookstoves], we know, contribute to 25 percent outdoor pollution in India.” Government is giving more subsidies on vehicles which is worse! China enabled bike-sharing decade ago which reduced their pollution levels. USA is researching on transportation with alternative energy sources like solar.
Politics pollutes society as well as the environment
Another reason why India’s pollution is so bad is politics: there are many laws and rules to combat pollution levels but there is faulty enforcement. Besides, banning local polluting sources from cities (like wood smoke, brick kilns, etc.) doesn’t really prevent the smoke ensued by these elsewhere from mixing in the air anywhere. Smoke released anywhere in the vicinity of the cities could and does enter their air. There is no uniformity across the whole country with regard to measures of pollution control, because there is a major difference in the governing styles of different cities and rural areas, and it is hard to strike up a synchronicity between them regarding anything.
India’s pollution will likely keep getting worse as India develops, but there are measures being taken and laws being made dedicated to pollution control, more than ever before. That is perhaps the only silver lining in the dull, polluted cloud as of now.