March 19, 2018

Working with Environment Ministry to address air pollution

16 February 2017, 09:08 | Winifred Adams

Working with Environment Ministry to address air pollution

Ozone pollution in India

The study claimed yesterday that India now accounted for the maximum number of premature deaths due to ozone air pollution in the world, surpassing China.

The surprising fact is that, despite glaring evidence linking air pollution with deaths, there are some ministers who are reluctant to accept the connection.

"India can not afford to remain complacent or on (sic) denial any more", Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of research and advocacy at the Center for Science and Environment, said in a press release. With so many people dying early and falling ill due to particulate and ozone pollution, it is a state of health emergency.

Whether India's responsible agencies agree remains to be seen.

"Lung and allied diseases are affected by a number of factors such as smoking, hereditary factors, lifestyle, occupation, socio-economic status, immunity levels, medical history etc. besides air pollution", said environment minister Anil Madhav Dave in Rajya Sabha in December a year ago. "Air pollution could be one of the triggering factors for respiratory associated ailments and diseases", he said.

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"Unless both Ministries work in a coordinated manner, there can not be a solution", Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said at a press briefing.

"We are working on it", he told reporters today, according to Press Trust of India. "What we are trying to do is work in coordination with it", said Nadda.

India's death toll is second to China's and both the countries together amount to more than half of the world's deaths from pollution.

New Delhi, the capital of India, had witnessed crisis like situation in November past year just after Diwali festival when air pollution broke almost every record, and the government was forced to close schools in order to prevent breathing problems suffered by the little kids.

"[India] has got a longer way to go", HEI President Dan Greenbaum told Reuters. According to the report, during the period between 1990 and 2015, air pollution saw a meteoric rise in Delhi and Dhaka, securing them top two positions in the list of the worst polluted cities. In the Western world, Mexico City, London and Paris have had public health concerns, too.

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