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Nine Things to do for Clean Air

  • Published
    16th Nov, 2023

Context:

The necessity of a comprehensive, systemic approach to governance, financing, and implementation is emphasized to effectively tackle the escalating air pollution crisis and protect vulnerable groups.

Urgent Need for Coordinated Action

  • Magnitude of the Issue: Air pollution, the fifth-largest cause of death in India, claimed 1.6 million lives in 2019, surpassing COVID-19 deaths. Around Rs.7 lakh crore annually, highlighting the crisis severity.
  • Systemic Challenges: Despite awareness, responses to air pollution are inadequate. Complex issues include economic factors, diverse emissions sources, and governance problems. Current approaches address symptoms, not root causes.
  • Impact on Vulnerable Populations: Two-thirds of air pollution deaths are rural Indians. Disproportionate impact on vulnerable groups necessitates a comprehensive, systemic governance, financing, and implementation approach for effective solutions.

Interventions for Long-Term Solutions

  • Integrated Emission Control: Coherent policies needed to limit emissions from power plants, industries, and burning practices. Cross-sectoral solutions require coordinated governance and monitoring systems.
  • Green Urban Public Transport: Essential increase in affordable green urban transport. Advocate renewable-powered metro systems, electrified bus services, following successful global models for combatting air pollution.
  • Electrification and Regional Approaches: Widespread electrification urged for buildings, vehicles, and production. Emphasis on regional strategies for comprehensive changes in production, transportation, consumption, and waste management systems.

Measures to be taken

  • End-to-End Construction and Waste Management: Essential focus on complete construction and waste management to reduce dust and waste release. Involves recycling and addressing construction waste.
  • Legislation and Enforcement: Strong, year-round legislation and enforcement essential for air pollution control. Emphasizes court determination and executive resistance to pressure for environmental regulation dilution.
  • Citizen Mobilization and Funding: Wide-scale citizen mobilization crucial for awareness and education. Urges substantial funding, extending the Fifteenth Finance Commission's precedent for climate and air pollution interventions.
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