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Air pollution has become a hot
topic of discussion and debate of late. Now with the latest unveiling of the long-awaited air pollution control program also known as the
National Clean Air Program, things have started to look more promising.
This program is expected to cut
down around 20%-30% of particulate matter over the next five years and improve
the overall air quality levels across the country. The problem, however, is
that this program lacks clear targets. While the plan is time-bound and comes with a defined end result,
the process and implantation aspects are not legally binding and definite. So
while it is a step forward, we are left thinking, is it enough?
Given the fact that India houses
12 of the top 15 polluted cities in the world, we must be more concerned about
having a clear and defined plan to curb and monitor air pollution. So the other
day, I casually started checking what this whole hubbub about air pollution was
all about. I downloaded the Ambee air quality monitoring app. I checked for the
worst places with regards to air pollution and guess what? Many were from
Delhi, the capital of India and the other cities have their own set of polluted
cities! With Nizampur from North West Delhi topping the list with an AQI of 501
to Bandankal in Telangana with an AQI of
438 (as on today) we have quite the competition! The data is real-time and
might change with time, but you get the drift, right?
So to answer my previous
question- No! No, it is not enough. India is the third most polluted country
after Bangladesh and Pakistan. We have 7 of the top 10 polluted cities in the
world,and around 1.2 million deaths are
attributed to air pollution every year. So yes, the measures promised by our
government are not enough to tackle air pollution,and we must all do our part towards it.
We need aggressive measures and
stringent timelines to deal with this problem. But we need to start it with the
right kind of data. A quicker, more versatile and reliable kind of air quality
monitor that could help you keep a watch over the air quality level around you
and also help relevant authorities plan and implement appropriate policies.