Dirt is in the air

A study on air quality in India conducted by Yale and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked India a poor 177 of 180 countries.

Published: 01st February 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2018 02:32 AM   |  A+A-

A study on air quality in India conducted by Yale and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) has ranked India a poor 177 of 180 countries. It also warned that India was staring at a public health crisis if concrete measures are not taken to curb pollution. The study has only reinforced what is an open secret: successive governments have done little to tackle this problem.

Perhaps the most telling image of this health hazard was of Sri Lankan Test cricketers with face masks on Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Maidan during the final Test match against India in December 2017. Despite the protective gear, two Lankan bowlers had to leave the ground early as they faced breathing problems. For the first time in Test cricket, a match was disrupted because of air pollution.

Every winter the national capital is draped in smog caused by the burning of farm stubble and sometimes by weather conditions in West Asia. But it is not just Delhi that is facing air pollution. Many other cities also have poor air quality, as the study has pointed out. Chinese cities also suffer high levels of pollution, mainly from industrial units. But like most industrialised countries, China has been able to curb the problem through monetary fines and banning polluting industries.

The major contributors to bad air quality in India are auto emissions, fossil fuel-powered heavy industry, construction and the burning of agricultural waste after harvest. But hardly anything has been done on any of these fronts. That the government accords low priority to poor air quality is clear from the fact that many cities have just one real-time monitoring station, that too located somewhere in a green area, which does not show the correct picture. The government needs to regulate pollution from the construction industry, ban old vehicles, both public and private, as they cause higher pollution, and have the political spine to stop farmers from burning agricultural waste in the winter.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp