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Air Pollution - A Disaster that the World’s not ready for

To our utmost dismay, the harrowing experiences of living in the city wherein the air quality is borderline toxic is the least bit surprising as it is to witness that out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world 21 of those cities are there in India. The gravity of which speaks volumes louder about the amount of effort needed to be taken to bring about significant improvement in the air quality index of our country.

There is an ecological balance in the world that is maintained due to the adequate proportion of gases that are present in the atmosphere, any increase or decrease in the composition of these gases poses a grave threat to our survival. This imbalance in the gaseous composition has increased the temperature of the earth contributing majorly to global warming every passing year.

Is Air Pollution an impending doom?

Air Pollution is defined as the presence of toxic solid and gaseous particles in the air that lower the air quality proving to be detrimental to the health of living beings.

Poor Air quality index is detrimental to the quality of life of people in India as it leads to 6,70,000 deaths in our country annually due to lack of fresh air, the result of which leads to countless people getting prone to cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, etc.

Causes Of Air Pollution

  • Burning of fossil fuels

Sulfur dioxide resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum is one of the major causes of air pollution.

  • Transportation is indeed a major cause of air pollution especially in urban areas when vehicles burn gasoline they emit harmful pollutants such as particulate matter, carbon monoxide which is equivalent to smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day.

  • Open Burning Of Garbage Waste exposure to open burning of garbage leads to chronic and severe health issues such as Liver Issues, Cancer, etc.

  • The use of chemical and synthetic products poses a major risk to respiratory health and volatile organic compounds(VOC) found in paints, perfumes are harmful to health and at times lead to asthma.

  • Wildfires burning of farm residue leads to wildfires and smog which results due to wildfires makes it difficult for people to breathe.

  • Industrial pollution leads to the emission of harmful pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, Carbon Monoxide due to which the problem of air pollution further escalates.

  • Agricultural Activities contribute to air pollution and agricultural activities. Pesticides and Fertilizers are the main contributors to air pollution in agriculture.

Effects Of Air Pollution

Major effects of air pollution are elucidated below:

  1. Air Pollution leads to chronic respiratory and heart conditions such as asthma, strokes, cancer, chronic bronchitis, etc.

  2. Small children are at a greater risk of Respiratory and Pulmonary diseases and that also hinders the mind development in children at a tender age.

  3. Global Warming is the direct consequence of increased emissions of Carbon Dioxide and Methane in the air.

  4. Air pollutants deteriorate the constitution of building materials due to which a lot of buildings are destroyed over time.

  5. Air pollution has a negative impact on the skin and the worst outcome of all this is skin cancer.

Four Ways to tackle Air pollution

Taking the causes and effects of air pollution into consideration, some of the ways that can be implemented to tackle air pollution are explained as follows:

  1. Walking Or Cycling

For traveling short distances, use of cars should be avoided and walking or cycling should be encouraged as that boosts our health and reduces air pollution to a great extent if that is the way used by many.

  1. Use Of Public Transportation

Use of public transport such as Bus, Metro must be encouraged as that will somehow reduce the number of cars on roads and its execution is important as 1400 cars are added every day on Delhi's roads.

  1. Avoid Burning Garbage

Burning of garbage should be avoided in the open so that the health condition of people suffering from asthma, Chronic Bronchitis can be improved.

  1. Avoid Smoking

Smoking leads to the death of millions of people annually and if that is banned or a penalty is imposed on the same then a lot of deaths that happen due to lung cancer can be avoided.

  1. Use of Inverters for backup

The use of diesel or petrol generators is banned by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the use of inverters should be encouraged.

Delhi - The Most Polluted City

We will now further explore how air pollution has had a detrimental impact on Delhi’s AQI (Air Quality Index).

  • The air quality in Delhi, the capital territory of India, according to a WHO survey of 1,650 world cities, is the worst of any major city in the world.

  • During festivals like Diwali, the air quality index of this city becomes worst because some people tend to damage the air quality by launching fireworks in the sky, bursting firecrackers, etc.,

  • A report by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, in 1997 reviewed the environmental situation in Delhi over concerns of deteriorating conditions. It was estimated that about 3000 metric tonnes of air pollutants were emitted a day in Delhi, with a serious contribution from vehicular pollution (67%) followed by coal-based thermal power plants (12%).

The inception of Project Ibtida

Propelled by the purpose of tackling air pollution the team of Enactus Aryabhatta strove towards initiating Project Ibtida which aims to tackle climate change through innovative climate action through the production of carbon-negative materials and clean technology for the mission of reducing air pollution by eliminating carbon emissions and footprints.

The SDGs covered by Project Ibtida are as follows:

  1. SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

  2. SDG 9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

  3. SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities

  4. SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

  5. SDG 12 Responsible Production and Consumption

  6. SDG 13 Climate Action

  7. SDG 15 Life On Land

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