Topic-Environmental pollution and degradation
5) The results of Lancet Planetary Health study are disquieting, for they point to a looming public health emergency that necessitates a renewed focus on mitigating the hazards of air pollution in India. Discuss and critically analyze government policies for dealing with the crisis?(250 words)
Why this question
The article highlights the results of the planetary health study and emphasizes on the sizeable problem caused by the scourge of air pollution. The article also critically analyzes the policy of the government to deal with air pollution and provides alternative solutions. At a time when air pollution has become a daily news item, the question is relevant for mains.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to to highlight the major problem that air pollution is in the introduction. Thereafter, we need to explain the findings of Lancet study and discuss its implications. Thereafter, we need to bring out the steps taken by the government to deal with the problem of air pollution and highlight it’s shortcomings. We need to end with emphasizing on the magnitude of the problem and discuss the way forward.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight that air pollution has become a major issue with aqi constantly showing very poor or worse results in several major cities of the country.
- Discuss the findings of the Lancet study
- Indians suffer from disproportionately high mortality and disease burden on account of polluted air.
- It revealed that in India, the annual population weighted mean exposure to ambient particulate matter, PM2.5,in 2017 was 89.9µg/m3, which was one of the highest in the world. None of the states in India could comply with the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended norm of ambient particulate matter air quality of less than 10µg/m3. Moreover, about 77% of the population was exposed to pollution levels higher than 40µg/m3, the level recommended by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
- Discuss the impact of these findings
- Air pollution caused more disease burden in India than tobacco use, leading to respiratory infections, diseases of the lungs and heart, stroke and diabetes.
- The study estimated that about 1.24 million deaths in 2017 were attributable to air pollution. Of these, about 51.4% were of persons aged less than 70 years. The average life expectancy would have been higher by 1.7 years had the air pollution level been less than the minimal level. Etc
- Explain the steps taken by the government in dealing with air pollution and examine its shortcomings.
- government acknowledged air pollution as a pan–India problem with the drafting of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was intended to build and strengthen the institutional capacity to monitor air quality across India, carry out indigenous studies to understand the health impacts of air pollution and create a national emission inventory.
- programme has been criticised by environmentalists for lack of clear reduction targets and strategies to ensure compliance to standards within a specified time frame. The criticisms are especially pertinent as the government has recently relaxed regulations for polluting coal-fired thermal power plants which were required to comply with emission standards
Conclusion – Give your view on the problem of air pollution and discuss way forward.