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  • Writer's pictureClairco

Air Quality in India - The Issue at Hand

That’s the question I asked 6 people from different cities and they all had different answers, but the only thing that stayed constant was their view on the deterioration of the air quality every day in their homes and outside. To quote, they said “it’s breathable but all the open constructions and pollution make it harder for us to have clear air every day” and “You don’t have to smoke cigarettes to be a chain smoker in Delhi”.

Nearly 1.7m people in India died in 2019 because of air pollution. At this moment, cities that are expanding quickly face significant dangers from air pollution and climate change. Developing countries like India, which are transitioning from primarily rural to increasingly urban areas, must overcome significant obstacles in terms of addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development.

In metropolitan environments, the main interior and outdoor air pollutants might be primary or secondary air pollutants. Among the primary air pollutants that are released directly are particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10, suspended particulate matter (SPM), respirable particulate matter (RPM), SOx, NOx, CO, ammonia, and dust particles. Secondary air pollutants include ozone, smog, Peroxyacyl nitrates (PANs), etc.

More than seven million people worldwide pass away from diseases connected to PM2.5 levels, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) research. The previous few decades have seen an increase in air pollution in most Indian megacities, which has had negative effects on human health including asthma, allergies, hyperthermia, dehydration, respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumothorax . About 6% of children in India are prone to respiratory tract infections and 2% of adults in India are also trapped in asthma disease.

The gas that gives summer haze its brownish appearance is nitrogen dioxide. Alveolar irritation, airway resistance, pulmonary function, and decreased lung capacity are among the health effects of NO2. The most common source of high NO2 concentrations has been found to be vehicle emissions (95%) followed by industry, fuel burning and combustion of low quality fuel causes SO2 emission as well. Particulate matter has been found to be a more significant cause of air pollution-related mortality and morbidity than gaseous air pollutants, despite the fact that gaseous air pollutants like NO2 and SO2 are a topic of growing concern for human health.

The effects of air pollution vary from person to person since some are more sensitive to air pollutants than others. Health concerns associated with air pollutants are more likely to affect children, the elderly, and pregnant women.

In order to prevent adverse health effects from climate change in India, it is important to take into account the country's large population density as well as ongoing urbanisation and industrialization. In order to prevent the numerous adverse consequences on human health that are described in the assessment, essential mitigation and adaptation methods are needed for the current and projected impacts of climate change.

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