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How vehicular pollution is not primary cause of poor air quality in Delhi

  • Published
    15th Sep, 2023

Context:

As per a recentstudy found that during the winters in the capital, the main cause of air pollution is not vehicular smoke, but actually the burning of natural materials like wood and plants.

Air Pollution's Impact on Lives

  • Dire Consequences of Air Pollution:The 2023 ‘AQLI report by the University of Chicago’ reveals air pollution in Delhi reduces lifespan by 11.9 years, highlighting health risks.
  • A Deteriorating Situation: An earlier report warned of a nine-year life expectancy reduction in northern India due to persistently high pollution levels.
  • Lack of Progress: Environmental discussions lack progress, with narrow focuses and dominant voices, impeding effective action on pressing air pollution concerns.

Identifying the True Causes of Air Pollution

  • Misplaced Blame: Vehicular emissions wrongly accused as Delhi's main pollution source; rain improvements suggest dust and biomass burning culprits.
  • Dust and Biomass Impact: Studies find dust and biomass burning significantly pollutes air, challenging vehicle-centric focus.
  • Neglected Debate: Dominance of "vehicles-pollute-Delhi" narrative stifles discussions about alternative pollution causes like dust and biomass burning.

Addressing the Root Causes

  • Urbanization's Impact: Rampant urbanization in India marked by encroachment, corruption, and unregulated construction, fuels environmental degradation like waste dumping and water contamination.
  • Vehicle Ownership Reality: India's low vehicle ownership (8% of households) contrasts with cleaner Western cities with more cars per household.
  • Neglected Priorities: Excessive focus on vehicle emissions sidelines critical issues like illegal urbanization and environmental consequences, leaving people to suffer.
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