Air pollution has been amongst India's most pertinent and pressing issues in the recent years. The toxic air is not only an environmental issue but also takes an economic toll on the nation: it slows down development and affects people's health.
According to the Health Effects Institute, over 1.1 million premature deaths were caused by air pollution in India by 2015. Air pollution also caused about 18 percent of all deaths in country, in 2019. And the same year GDP dropped by 1.8 percent. Studies show the severe affects of poor air quality amongst many sectors, including crops and labour productivity.
Reason Behind India’s Deteriorating Air Quality
In the past few decades, India's air quality has deteriorated immensely due to various reasons. Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and population growth being the major causes. India ranked third amongst all other counties in the world according to IQAir in 2020 for the worst air quality. The northern region alone are responsible for 13 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world.
Harmful Effects Of Air Pollution In India
A report done by US research group estimates that Indian life expectancy can be reduced by 9 nine years given the air pollution stays the same or worsens. According to the study, 480 million people in northern India face the extreme level of air pollution and these levels can be expanded to other regions if not acted upon.
The study adds, strong clean air policies by the government might help add five years to people's lives. India's average particulate matter concentration came out to be 70.3 µg/m³ in 2019. (the highest in the world)
What Is Government Doing To Save Us?
Certain policy changes made by the Indian Government, in 2019 to fight air pollution aims to reduce dangerous particulate pollution in the country such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It says," Achieving these goals will have a major effect on the life expectancy of Indians increasing it to approximately 2-3 years for the residents of Delhi."
According to the report China, is one example of effective policy implementation can give " sharp pollution reduction in short time" Since 2013, China has reduced the poop air quality by 29%