While India may be pioneering the cause of cleanliness of tangible waste via Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, India’s air quality remains among the worst in the world.
While India may be pioneering the cause of cleanliness of tangible waste via Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, India’s air quality remains among the worst in the world. India has 14 of the world’s top 15 cities with severe air pollution menace. However, the toxic air is not just harmful for the country’s populace but also to the rest of the world. “India now emits more carbon dioxide than all of South America and Africa combined,” The Economist said in a report.
Recently, speaking at UN convention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call for tackling climate change and made an ambitious pledge to more than double India’s non-fossil fuel target to 450 gigawatts (GW). Previously, in the Independence Day speech, PM Modi had announced that India will produce 175 GW of non-fossil fuel as part of its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, PTI reported. “We must accept that if we have to overcome a serious challenge like climate change, then what we are doing at the moment is just not enough,” he told the world leaders at the summit which was organised by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
India is among the most polluted countries and over 20 lakh people die annually because of the dust particles suspended in the air. The capital city of the country is one of the biggest offenders and according to The Economist report, residents of Delhi-NCR inhale air equivalent to at least half a pack of cigarettes daily, making them live 10 years less than they should. In Bangalore, lakes are teeming with toxic foams.
Does India’s air pollution have a solution?
According to The Economist, India should deploy gas-fired power plants instead of relying on coal to manufacture electricity. While India has large reserves of coal, the naturally found black fuel causes 40% of total carbon dioxide that comes from fossil fuel emissions. Currently, India’s over 70% of electricity is generated by coal. On the other hand, electricity share from cleaner and renewable sources remains comparatively low. Further, the country can also look into getting stronger laws in place and work on refining ill-conceived and ineffective policies to combat air pollution, The Economist added.