- Air pollution is aggravated because of four developments, increasing traffic, growing cities, rapid economic development, and industrialization.
- The presence in the atmosphere of one or more contaminants in such quality and for such duration as it is injurious, or tends to be injurious, to human health or welfare, animal or plant life.
- It is the contamination of air by the discharge of harmful substances.
- Air pollution can cause health problems, damage the environment, property and climate change.
Major Air Pollutants and their sources
- It is a colourless, odourless gas that is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels including petrol, diesel, and wood .
- It is also produced from the combustion of natural and synthetic products such as cigarettes.
- Its lowers the amount of oxygen that enters our blood .
- It can slow our reflexes and makes us confused and sleepy.
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
- It is the principle greenhouse gas emitted as a results of human activities such as the burning of coal, oil, and natural gases.
- These are gases that are released mainly from air- conditioning systems and refrigeration.
- When released into the air, CFC rise to the stratosphere, where they come in contract with few other sphere , where they come into contact with few other gases, which lead to a reduction of the ozone layer that protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.
- Its is present in petrol, diesel, lead batteries, paints, hair dye products, etc . Lead affects children in particular.
- It can cause nervous system damage and digestive problems and, in some cases cause cancer.
- Its occurs naturally in the upper layer of the atmosphere.
- This important gas shields the earth from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun .
- However, at the ground level it is a pollutant with highly toxic effects.
- Vehicles and industries are the major source of ground level ozone emissions.
- Ozone makes our eyes itch, burn, and water. Its lowers our resistance to cold and pneumonia.
- Nitrogen oxide
- Its causes smog and acid rain .It is produced from burning fuels including petrol, diesel, and coal.
- Nitrogen oxide can make children susceptible to respiratory diseases in winters.
SUSPENDED PARTICULAR MATTER (SPM)
- It consists of solids in the air in the form of smoke, dust, and vapour that can remain suspended for extended periods and is also the main source of haze which reduces visibility.
- The finer of these particle, when breathed in can lodge in our lungs and caused lunge damage and respiratory
SULPHUR DIOXIDE (SO2)
- It is a gas produced from burning coal, mainly in thermal power plants.
- Some industrial processes such as production of paper and smelting of metal, produce sulphur dioxide.
- It is major contributor to smog and acid rain. Sulfur dioxide can lead to lung diseases.
National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
- The NCAP unveiled in January is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.
- The NCAP is envisioned as a five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. There would be a review every five years.
- For achieving the NCAP targets, the cities would be expected to calculate the reduction in pollution, keeping 2017’s average annual PM levels as the base year.
- The NCAP requires cities to implement specific measures such as:
- Ensuring roads are pothole-free to improve traffic flow and thereby reduce dust” (within 60 days) or
- Ensuring strict action against unauthorized brick kilns (within 30 days)
- It doesn’t specify an exact date for when these obligations kick in.
- Experts have criticised the lack of mandatory targets and the challenge of inadequate enforcement by cities.
Highlighting that five most polluted cities of the world are in India, Niti Aayog has proposed a 15-point formula to combat air pollution. Titled, Breathe India, the Niti Aayog action plan seeks “concerted action from all levels of governance”. It has cited a WHO report to state that Kanpur, Faridabad, Gaya, Varanasi and Patna are most polluted cities in the world.
The report further says that nine out of 10 people worldwide breathe polluted air, which causes almost seven million deaths a year. The 15-point formula includes measures like replacing all petrol-diesel vehicles in use at government offices by electric and hybrid vehicles, streamlining power plants, encouraging solar panels on rooftops and feebat schemes