IntroductionWe at Ambee figure that one problem that needs to be tackled to day, as serious as the problem of pollution itself, is the lack of awareness about the subject. Globally, the UN, Governments, Intergovernmental Agencies and Universities have been ringing alarm bells for over a decade, resulting in a high awareness about air quality and the effects of pollution, but this level of consciousness has yet to seep into the strata of Indian society. That is why we have decided to write about the subject of Air Pollution itself – what is air pollution, what constitutes Air pollution, and what is the global scenario in terms of both air pollution levels and standards of quality living that have been set worldwide.
Global TrendsGlobal air quality has been deteriorating since 1990, with an approximate 1.2% increase overall in the last 15 years. Air quality , specifically particulate matter in the air, has also been ranked as the 5th leading cause of death worldwide, alongside factors such as smoking, diet and high blood pressure, and has been estimated to cause about 4.2 million deaths annually. In their guidelines published in 2005, the World Health Organization had set a Air Quality Guideline for annual average PM2.5 concentration at 10 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m^3) and three interim targets of 35 ug/m^3, 25 ug/m^3 and 15 ug/m^3 as goals to help reach this Air Quality Guideline. In 2015, it was estimated that 92% of the world lived in a place that had PM2.5 above the guideline, and whopping 50% of the global population lived in areas which did not meet the first interim target of 35 ug/m^3 (The State of Global Air, 2017)
Indian Pollution Trends
India has one of the world’s worst air quality data, ranked only after Bangladesh and before Pakistan and China and the air quality has been steadily deteriorating since 2010. (Ref. Figure 3) (The State of Global Air, 2017 , Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser 2018 )In 2015, India’s aggregate, population-weighted reading was of fine particulate matter was found to be 74 µg/m3 against a global mean of 44 µg/m3(Figure 2), and the average seasonal population-weighted Ozone reading at 76 µg/m3 against a global mean of 61 µg/m3 (figures 3 ,4, 5 and 6).