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21st February 2024 (11 Topics)

El Nino, La Nina

Context:

A recent study has unveiled the influence of external factors like El Nino, La Nina, and climate change on air pollution levels in Indian cities, marking a significant revelation in understanding air quality dynamics.

Impact of External Factors on Air Quality:

  • Direct influence: External phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina, alongside climate change, are observed to influence air pollution distribution over cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Affecting dispersion of pollutants: These factors do not introduce new sources of pollution but alter meteorological conditions, including wind patterns and temperatures, thereby affecting the dispersion of pollutants.
  • Role of external events: The study highlights the role of the record-breaking La Nina event in the Pacific Ocean in the winter of 2022, contributing to cleaner air in Delhi and dirtier air in Mumbai.

Implications for Air Pollution Management:

  • Challenges to management efforts: While the current influences are relatively weak, climate change scenarios predict potential amplification of El Nino and La Nina events, posing challenges to air quality management efforts.
  • Reducing emissions: Efforts to clean up air pollution must focus on reducing emissions at the source, as baseload emissions remain the primary cause of air pollution in Indian cities.
  • Long-term strategies: Quick-fix solutions like artificial rain or odd-even schemes are deemed ineffective, emphasizing the need for long-term strategies addressing emissions directly.

Emphasizing Long-Term Solutions:

  • Long-term plan to reduce emission: The study underscores the importance of prioritizing long-term emission reduction strategies over short-term interventions.
  • Treatment at source: Government policies should aim at addressing emissions from the sources themselves to achieve simultaneous improvements in air quality and climate change mitigation.
  • Holistic approach: Adopting a holistic approach focusing on emission reduction would yield sustainable benefits, ensuring both cleaner air and resilience against climate-induced pollution impacts.
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