New Delhi, Feb 21 (GnY News Service): When SAFAR-AIR, India’s first air quality mobile application was launched by Ministry of Earth Sciences on 20th February 2015,ShaileshNayak,secretary to the Ministry said that the reason for launching the app was an effort by the Indian government to generate consciousness among people and orient them towards a sustainable lifestyle of low on carbon emissions. The rising sale of surgical masks, air purifiers, filtration systems in office buildings points to the fact that Delhi upper income group is becoming conscious day by day of the crisis. The awareness is of course quite bereft of any effort of major political parties to include air pollution in their political agenda.
Delhi’s air is contaminated with a toxic particulate matter i.e. PM 2.5, matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that is believed to pose the greatest health risk to the patients suffering with heart or lung diseases, children and older adults. Studies by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have concluded that exposure to PM2.5 in children would mean reduced lung functioning, increase in asthma and respiratory illnesses.
(Photo courtesy: Gn’Y photo bank)
After five years of launching Air Now , a system developed by USEPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others, to provide the public with easy access to national air quality information in Shangai, the US plans to expand monitoring of air in India. The recent initiative announced by US to expand air quality monitoring to some of its missions in countries like India, Vietnam and Mongolia is to give its expats real time information about the quality of the air that they breathe, to enable them make an informed decision about whether it is a good day to go for a run or whether they want to send their kids to a park to play, secretary of state John Kerry said in the diplomatic posts in the EPA website.
The increased US efforts to keep their citizens healthy, even miles away from home shames countries like India where policy paralysis in pollution related issues leads to a devil may care attitude towards its people.