According to the Lancet research, nine million people die each year as a result of pollution. That’s three times the number of people who die from AIDS, TB, and malaria combined.
Pollution has significant economic implications as well, accounting for between 4 and 5 percent of a country’s gross domestic product. Therefore, the poor bear a disproportionate share of the cost, with lower and middle-income nations accounting for 94 percent of all fatalities.
India and USA are two countries that have joind hand together a lot of times for greater goods. Combating Air Pollution is one of the battles that they have to fight too.
Donora, Pennsylvania, was engulfed in a deadly haze in October 1948. Nearly half of the town’s 14,000 people had serious respiratory or cardiovascular issues over the course of five days. Breathing was tough. The death toll had risen to over 40 people.
Across the country, air pollution had become a painful consequence of industrial progress. Moreover, people took notice and began to act, once tragedies like Donora’s were publicly publicised.
Since the commencement of the Industrial Revolution, air pollution has been a problem in the United States. Critics questioned the seriousness of the situation. Moreover, they argued that the proposed rules would hinder job growth and social progress.
Scientists began looking into the relationship between air pollution and health. States began enacting measures to limit pollution levels in the air. In 1970, Congress approved the Clean Air Act Amendments. Therefore, this paved the way for the nation’s air quality standards to be established.
The United States Congress passed a succession of Clean Air Acts in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s. United States, various European nations, and the European Union followed these initiatives. The Clean Air Act establishes numerical limitations for a specific group of air pollutants, as well as reporting and enforcement methods.
These laws have had a very favourable impact. Between 1970 and 2006, inhabitants in the United States enjoyed the following decreases in yearly pollutant emissions:
This long-term investment in improving air quality and protecting public health has paid off handsomely. Every dollar spent by the government to execute the Clean Air Act resulted in $30 in benefits. In all, the Clean Air Act had resulted in $2 trillion in benefits. Nearly all of this is connected to lives saved, illnesses prevented, and increased worker productivity. Furthermore, President Obama’s announcement of carbon controls saved thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands of asthma episodes by changing to clean energy.
In 2020, a study for the Natural Resources Defense Council predicted that:
In India, air pollution is a major health concern. In 2019, India had 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities. Every year, 2 million Indians die prematurely as a result of air pollution. Emissions originate from automobiles and industry, but biomass burning for cooking is a major source of pollution in rural regions. In addition, large-scale crop residue burning in agriculture fields is a major source of smoke, haze, and particle pollution.
The primary causes of air pollution emissions and poor air quality are:
Over half of India’s PM 2.5 emissions are created in the upper atmosphere. This happens when different types of gaseous pollutants from one location combine with other gaseous pollutants from another area. In addition to that, agriculture, industry, power plants, residences, and transportation have a role in secondary PM 2.5 creation. This PM2.5 moves across states, cities spreading further and broader than primary PM2.5.
Irresponsible human conduct is a big issue that makes it harder to address the current issues. Moreover, the public’s lack of interest in pollution control measures are key roadblocks to achieving the aim of clean air. Due to a lack of public interest in some government actions, major investments in infrastructure assets are lost in fighting air pollution.
The Central Government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) under the Central Sector “Control of Pollution” Scheme. It is a long-term, time-bound national strategy to address the air pollution problem across the country.
There have been several initiatives done to raise awareness among the general public. The following measures were taken:
In India, we are at the same condition as the USA was in the 1960s. The issue is: Will we be able to recreate what the USA achieved in one generation? By the 2030s, will India’s rivers and towns be able to breathe again? The answer is a resounding no. For three crucial factors that set us apart from the rest of the world.
Hope you enjoyed reading What can India learn from USA?: Fighting Air Pollution
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