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Air pollution related diseases are the fifth largest killer in India: strict norms imperative

New Delhi, May 7 (G’nY News Service): Policy makers, scientists, academicians and environmentalists agreed on stricter norms and massive lifestyle change to curb air pollution in the workshop on ‘Issues and Challenges of Air Pollution in Delhi’ on May 6 under aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Delhi.

The workshop was attended by Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President of PHD Chamber; K D Choudhury, Ex-Director of Greencindia; Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Director of CSE’S Clean Air Campaign; Sh. Kulanand Joshi, Special Secretary of Department of Environment; Dr. Bhure Lal, Chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority for Delhi-NCR; Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary General, PHD Chamber and many other dignitaries.

While road dust is considered the highest air pollutant in Delhi, different factors for air pollution such as emission from diesel vehicles, factories, dumping grounds were also discussed. Indoor or household air pollution which is not discussed as widely as outdoor air was particularly highlighted.

“Air pollution related diseases are the fifth largest killer in India. If diseases due to indoor air pollution are added, then together air pollution is the highest killer in the country. Children are more vulnerable to such diseases. The lung of one in every third child is affected by air pollution. While there is lack of data, it is still perceptible that smaller towns and cities in India likely to be more polluted than Delhi. Air pollution in Delhi is also affected by unregulated activities in NCR area and surrounding states. The fire that engulfed part of Haryana and Punjab is responsible for further increasing air pollution in and around Delhi when the second phase of odd-even formula was progressing, especially after April 24, as in its first phase up to 10 days, the element of air pollution had shown improvements in its air quality.” says Roy Chowdhury.

Professor P.K. Sarkar, School of Planning and Architecture pointed out that exemptions and cases of buying new cars are evidences of lack of “research and survey” in the policy formation of Odd-Even.

The merits and demerits of air purifiers which have come up as an alternative for clean air were discussed. Clean air is a natural resource and all habitants of the ecosystem are entitled to it. The high costs for equipment and installation air purifier is also another negative factor in putting forth air purifier as a realistic measures.

The diesel and petrol guzzling mode of transport need to be gradually suspended to curtail vehicular pollution. All fuels made and culled out of any form of hydro carbons were not pollution free though diesel remains one of the worst among these. “Therefore, the need of hour is to gradually suspend the use of diesel and petrol guzzling mode of transport to curtail vehicular pollution with finding an effective alternate solution through generation of solar energy. Even coal, thermal and hydro generated energy is full of pollutants elements and therefore, needs to be replaced with alternate source of energy”, (WebIndia) Dr Lal said in the workshop.

The workshop ended with some consensus on the measure of air pollution. Stringent norms, more efficient public transport, better waste disposal system, and significant changes in lifestyle are imperative to curb air pollution. However, the paucity of time and curtailing of discussion sessions left the audience asking for more interaction in the following chapter of the workshop.

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