Aug 29, 2020

Although India has a rich and long history of environmental laws dating back to the 1970s, it still ranks very low on air and water pollution levels compared to the rest of the world resulting in. higher rates of infant mortality and lower life expectancy rates. Poor sanitation conditions and sewage problems compound the problem affecting the health of ordinary citizens in India. The reasons for this disconnect between enlightened environmental laws and high levels of pollution could be traced to lax enforcement of existing environmental laws, discrepancies in the environmental guidelines for businesses to follow between the central government and at the state levels, and the existence of a large number of SMEs who neither have the resources nor the technical skills to adhere to the existing environmental laws. Air pollution is a major environmental health risk with India estimated to have some of the worst levels globally. To inform action at subnational levels in India, the exposure to air pollution and its impact on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy in every state of India was estimated. It is caused by burning fossil fuels for industrial, domestic, and transport use giving off gases like sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, smoke, small particles, and droplets. Agricultural chemicals also get into the air harming the environment. A healthy life is impossible without healthy air. All Human beings have the right to breathe clean air, and it is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. But Human activities sometimes result in emissions of four principal greenhouse gases: CO2, CH4, N2O, and the halocarbons into the atmosphere. CO2 is emitted in vast amounts by transportation, heating, and cooling systems, manufacturing companies, e.g., cement. CH4 has increased as a result of agricultural and animal rearing activities. N2O is released by fossil fuel burning and, more importantly, by fertilizers. First, halocarbons include the chlorofluorocarbons (e.g., CFC-11 and CFC12), used extensively as refrigeration agents, and in other industrial processes, their presence in the atmosphere is found to cause stratospheric ozone depletion. All these contribute to the greenhouse effect. There is a strong scientific agreement that climate change is occurring and that human activities, especially carbon dioxide gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas, were responsible for most of the climate change, which is observed since the 1970s. The greenhouse gases emitted today shall remain in the atmosphere for a very, very long time. Data from IPCC, 1992 shows that CO2 has a life span of approximately 120 years, and N2O gas has a life span of 132 years before it gets eliminated. A pound of nitrous oxide has the equivalent global warming effect of 300 times that of one pound of carbon dioxide because of the chemical reactions. Based on data of 2012, nitrous dioxide is 6 per cent of all the U.S. emissions arising from human actions. Globally, about two-fifths, which means prevent of nitrous oxide emissions, are attributable to human activities. Agriculture, transportation, and industry activities are significant sources of nitrous oxide emissions. The main reason for climate change around the globe is the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to several natural and anthropogenic activities. The level of GHG in the atmosphere has already increased considerably over time particularly after the industrial era (1850) Air pollution is estimated to cause around seven million deaths a year worldwide. Perils of Health such as impaired lungs, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer are some of the effects of a degraded environment, and these translate into enormous costs for the economy as well. A WHO report estimated that in the year 2016, air pollution caused more than half-million deaths from respiratory tract infections in children fewer than five years of age. A systematic review of global data has found that People living with air pollution have undergone higher rates of depression and suicide. Making people understand the importance of clean air so that they voluntarily choose public modes of transportation is inevitable. Increasing awareness in using energy efficient devices and helping them understand the concepts of reducing, reusing & recycling is the need of the hour for the sustainability of our environment. Daily all-cause mortality data were collected from the birth and death registers of the municipal corporations of all these cities Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Shimla. For most of the cities, information on age and cause of death were not available. India is divided into five climate zones which are mostly hot and dry, warm and humid, composite, temperate and cold. In addition to climate zone, these cities represent varied topography plains, plateau, coastal areas and hilly regions. Air pollution levels vary from city to city based on sources of pollution and policy measures. Additionally, different weather patterns may modify pollution related health risks leading to wide spatial heterogeneity. The increased media attention afforded to air pollution over the last two years has led to several policy initiatives led either by the judiciary or the legislative. Many of these have resulted from directives issued by the Supreme Court of India and the National Green Tribunal, a result of either suo motu action taken by the courts, or public interest litigations filed by concerned citizens. While the directives issued by the courts have led to action locally in Delhi, and increased awareness among citizens, the science behind some of those decisions is questionable at best in terms of improving air quality in the region. Some examples of this include: A directive from the Supreme Court to divert non-destined trucks from entering Delhi. State governments were instructed to direct these trucks around the capital using peripheral highways instead, increasing their travel time in the region. The National Green Tribunal’s ban on diesel vehicles over 10 years from plying in the National Capital Region. The Delhi Government’s “Odd-Even” scheme for road rationing on heavily polluted days. Subsequent research has shown that the odd-even scheme was questionable in its efficacy. The rapid economic growth experienced by India is resulting in adverse and harmful environmental conditions that are affecting the people of India as well the wider global population.