Air Pollution In India: Can It Become Any Worse And What Can We Do? - We Talk about Nature
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Air Pollution In India: Can It Become Any Worse And What Can We Do?

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More than 80% of the urban dwellers in the world are bound to endure outdoor pollution that exceeds health standards, as mentioned in the WHO’s World Global Ambient Air Quality Database. A whopping nine out of ten people in the world breathe highly polluted air which goes way beyond the WHO’s standards. However, even among countries gasping for breath, air pollution in India stands out with consistently, epically terrible air quality.

Situation in India

The pollution level in India is increasingly becoming an issue of immediate concern. Today, it ranks even higher than high blood pressure, smoking, child and maternal malnutrition, and risk factors of diabetes. As you read, more than 140 million people are inhaling air which is ten times, or even more, over the safe limit specified by WHO. Also, as unfortunate as it is, 11 of the world’s 12 cities with the highest levels of air pollution are in India. Though India has a low per capita generation of greenhouse gases, the country, on the whole, is ranked the third-largest after China and the United States. Several studies have revealed that Indians have 30% lower lung function as compared to the Europeans.

Air pollution is one of the crucial contributors to the demise of around 2 million Indians every year. In rural areas, most of the emissions come from biomass burning and agriculture-related activities. On the other hand, poor waste management, vehicular emissions, and depleting tree cover contribute highly to the pollution levels in urban areas.

The “gas chamber”

Delhi, the capital of the country, is home to around 19 million people. In the past few years, it has been notorious in choking air which is now turning the iconic white and preserved marble structure of the Taj Mahal green and brown. The city has been facing major pollution crisis for the past few years, with one minister even going to the magnitude of describing it as the “gas chamber.”

Causes of Air Pollution in India

More than a dozen Indian cities are facing severe pollution, but most of the particulates that are suspended in the metro regions originate in the rural areas.

Use of Biomass and chulhas

Rural areas, therefore are themselves affected by just as poor air quality, if not more. Two-thirds of the population of India still stays outside of urban areas, and nearly 80 percent of these households are dependent on biomass like dung and wood for heating and cooking. Chulhas (cookstoves) also contribute to around 25% of the outdoor air pollution in India. Not only this, but their usage also causes indoor pollution, which is extremely hazardous for children’s health, according to the WHO.

Agricultural activities

In addition to this, agrarian activities like burning significant crop stubble also add to the misery. This smoke then wafts over the major cities like Mumbai and Chennai, where it gets mixed with traffic exhaust, construction dust, and factory emissions. India’s mountains and hills also act as basins that trap toxic air over large swaths of the country, most of the time making the air too dangerous to breathe.

Political situation

Another major cause of the consistent rise in pollution levels turns out to be politics. Renowned environmentalists and professors like Kirk Smith, have time and again indicated towards the weak enforcement of anti-pollution laws in India. For instance, though major cities can ban pollution sources like brick kilns within their boundaries, it is impossible to prevent the exhaust from blowing over the perimeter. Hence, it is utterly required to bring in coordinated and comprehensive laws across cities and provinces to see a visible change. However, the constituencies of rural and urban politicians are entirely different, which makes it hard to come to a common ground.

Way forward

As already mentioned, urban-rural and inter-state collaboration is integral to crafting a successful policy. The Air Quality Life Index states that if we can meet the national standards for air quality, life expectancy can up by two years.

The National Clean Air Mission (CAM-INDIA) is a cross-sectoral initiative launched by the Government of India in response to the crisis. It involves the Ministries of Power, Transport, Agriculture, Construction, Environment, Rural Development, and the states. The mission aims to build a pan-India network to monitor air quality and heighten citizen awareness. Along with this, it has a five-year action plan to fight the heightening pollution level in India.

Takeaway:

While policies are being put in place through national and state governments, it is also essential for cities to improve national performance by introducing complementary initiatives. The time has arrived for us to join hands to save our environment for ourselves, as well as the generations to come.

 

Pollution

Sound Pollution Effects to Your Health and Lifestyle Quality

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Sound pollution has become a global problem. The main issue is that a lot of individuals do not understand what it is, the causes, and how to fight it. They also don’t know that sound pollution is harmful to their overall health.

What is sound pollution, you ask? It can be termed as unwanted sound or the kind of noise that disrupts other activities such as conversations, sleep, or the general quality of life. Unlike water or air pollution, you can no really smell or taste sound pollution, but you can feel it getting into your nerves.

There is a range of sources of noise pollution, which include vehicles and transportation, social events, faulty machines, industrial activities, and noise from house devices, to mention a few. Research by the World Health Organization has shown that extreme sound levels exceeding 70 DB are harmful to living organisms, and this gets even worse in cases of prolonged exposure. In this article, we will look at some of the noise pollution effects on your health and lifestyle quality.

Poor quality of sleep

If you live near a busy road or noisy neighborhood, then you understand the struggle that comes with trying to fall asleep. It gets even more stressful when you have a toddler because their sleep gets distracted every minute, and you have to try and get them back to sleep. Irregular sleeping pattern is harmful to your health and productivity. You wake up feeling tired, and the fact that you have to go to work or school drains the remaining energy. You can no longer concentrate at work or even perform well at the gym. Lack of enough sleep is also harmful to your cardiovascular system.

Damaged hearing

Intensive sound waves result in harmful ripples in your ear canal. This interferes with the fluids that are responsible for enhancing communication between the ears and the brain. The interference ruins the delicate hair follicles in the ears that aid in sending signals to the brain once sound gets in the ears. Noise pollution is among the significant causes of hearing loss, especially when most of the hair follicles are damaged, and that’s why you realize that most people and especially children living in noisy areas depend on hearing devices. Studies have shown that high-intensity noises can damage the child’s reading power and memory.

Poses risks to cardiovascular health

You are probably wondering how noise can affect the heart. For starters, we already mentioned its effects on your sleep pattern, which has direct negative impacts on the cardiovascular system. Also, studies have shown that exposure to too much noise for about ten years increases the chances of suffering heart-related issues by 300%. This is because noise increases the heart pulse rates, which in return puts pressure on the blood vessels and puts you at risk of suffering high blood pressure or heart attack. Those that are exposed to high noises for more than eight hours in a day are at a higher risk of these issues.

Results in psychological disorders

You might think that you already got used to the noise and that you are living normally, but in some ways, the intense noise harms your psychological functions. The noise becomes a part of your life, and in the long run, you become easily irritable by small things, nervous, and you tend to make irrational decisions. You even become uneasy, mainly when you are in quiet places. Noise can put you under stress, make you unproductive and socially withdrawn. It affects your emotional stability, the way you relate to the surroundings, and if this persists, you may develop a suppressive personality and unlikable behaviors without realizing it.

Speech disorder

Kids are more susceptible to this risk. Communicating in noisy environments is nearly impossible. This affects the children’s hearing ability and, in the end, affects their ability to speak. The problem can also affect adults, especially those working with noisy machines because they barely communicate in there.

Sound pollution affects our lives in many ways, and, unfortunately, people are already getting used to the noise. They don’t mind putting too loud music. They are okay with living near noisy roads and working with noisy equipment without earplugs. If you were to move to a quiet place, you will realize that the noise you that you thought you were used to having been denying you a lot of peace. You should not wait until this gets to your health. Implementing preventive measures such us using earplugs, turning off appliances at home, shutting the door when using noisy equipment, using noise absorbents when working with loud machinery, and reducing the volume when listening to music goes a long way. You should also move from noisy neighborhoods. Your health and peace of mind are more important than the attachment you got to that place.

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Pollution

Surging Climate Change: Is The Car You Recently Bought Hastening The Process?

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The changing time gives rise to innovations and convenience. Nevertheless, not all of this is credible and altogether useful. The jumbo vehicles that human beings take pride in driving and find fiercer are among the core reasons for the surging climate change. A myriad of harmful substances discharged into the environment puts the life of flora and fauna at a severe threat of health hazards. 

According to a survey in the year 2018, the growing demand for big vehicles was the second-largest supporter for the enhanced CO² emissions from the year 2010 to 2018. The doubled sale of these heavy vehicles has possibly doubled the perils of life hovering over the people on this planet. 

Heavy advertising

Vehicles for sports utility and having off-road features are among those trends that cannot go unnoticed. Every automobile company is commencing its lines of heavy vehicles and at very acceptable and lucrative prices. The heavyweight vehicle output has boosted promptly in the last seven years.

The massive advertisement of its pros has captivated the minds of all the car buyers thus increasing the sale of crossovers and pressure on the environmental activists at the same time. Furthermore, the manufacturers are planning to increase this rate of production by 25% by the year 2025. 

This gamble has always been on the side of the automobile enterprises as bigger cars can extract massive profits for them. Thus, these big bets on these big cars shall continue to take place until the severe conditions emerge. 

The mass of destruction

The surging climate change has already put nature saviors under immense pressure. This has been increasing due to heavyweight vehicles. An average crossover now weighs around 77 kgs to 80 kgs heavier than it was back in the year 2009. 

Imagine the load our earth manages every day! Massive. The science begins here, more weight of a vehicle means more energy it will consume to run on the roads. In the year 2010, 35 million crossovers were sold which is to say a lot of load in one year itself, far from the estimate of continuous sale thus far. According to the agency reports, two in every five automobiles is a heavyweight crossover. 

Moreover, it emits more carbon dioxide into the environment, which is resulting in even more damage to living beings. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by up to 45 percent in recent years. The increased weight might be the reason for improved safety measures in cars. However, they’re skyrocketing the risk of severe health diseases.

The issue is not just the climate

The surging climate change is showcasing its impact in most parts of the world, and thus, various organizations have become warned about the same. IMF has come to action by reserving funds and policies to alter the climate

The planet is not only suffering from the adverse effects of the high fuel consumption of these cars, but the daily lives of people are also deteriorating. This is because these huge cars are immensely responsible for hourly traffic jams, frequently broken roads, and violation of rules and regulations. 

Climate change due to bigger vehicles has become massive because such automobiles are deemed as rugged and rough and are meant mostly for off-roading purposes. Research conducted at Stanford University states that 32 percent of the hit and run cases involved crossovers or huge vehicles. The drivers risk the lives of people walking in the foot, as per the Paris agreement. 

Consequently, various policies, such as energy subsidy reforms hunting for greener financial sectors, etc. have taken birth due to the efforts are done by the IMF to eradicate the harms done by these huge cars.

The status symbol 

The additional essential purpose for the increased carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere is the word ‘status symbol.’ The world is competing not only at the corporate or financial level but also at an individual level. Everybody wants to put up their best card on the table. 

As a result, people end up buying big cars that not only enhance their dignity but sadly also exposes them to risks to various lethal ailments. 

Various other reasons for their purchase are:

  • The Consumer Reports state that people feel vindicated when they travel in a vehicle that is high above the surface of the road.
  • They are easy to travel in rugged regions, such as villages, adventure rides, and mountainous areas. 

The problem of carbon footprint shall prevail in the world until the manufacturing companies take a significant step forward. 

Less for more

According to a study, people are more attracted to the rates than counting on the pros of an item before buying it. So, the same goes when it comes to purchasing a new crossover vehicle. 

The companies have comprehended their gains and, thus, are continually coming up with various lineups that are not just affordable but deliver the best customer services, such as compelling looks and additional (not, in reality) security. 

They are merely jeopardizing the lives of the individuals buying their cars because of their increased earnings. 

Takeaway

This scenario of surging climate change is the high time that we proclaim this information among the people to liberate our planet from future threats and dangers even when the wealth couldn’t save us. The automotive industry will only doom the planet if suitable measures aren’t exercised to safeguard the environment from these crossovers’ production and the harm they cause.

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Climate Change: The Three Imperatives to Saving our Planet

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“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Is climate change real? Or, as Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States of America noted, is climate change a “hoax invented by China?” (Justin Worland, Time Magazine, 2019)

This question is one of the most frequently asked questions of Google and all other search engines. It is also currently one of the most hotly debated topics between different groups of people like scientists, experts, and leaders of some of the largest countries in the world.

As an aside, Worland notes in the same article mentioned above, that Trump has changed his mind. Climate change is no longer a hoax and his administration “will fight for a cleaner environment every day of [his] presidency.”

However, there is overwhelming evidence of the effects of climate change caused by global warming in the increased number of global severe weather events that occur regularly. These severe weather events include the increase in the number and severity of tropical storms, typhoons, and hurricanes. And they have caused the reduction of sea ice in the Arctic as a result of the one to two percent increase in the global oceans’ surface temperature.

Consequently, this question can be answered in the affirmative, and it is answered succinctly by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the following statement:

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

Additionally, this Intergovernmental Panel notes that the “current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is… greater than 95 percent probability… to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

Finally, News24.com columnist Melanie Verwoerd correctly notes during the latest round of challenges with electricity supply in South Africa “that the emissions from these coal power plants are contributing to climate change which causes these extreme weather events [(heavy rain and flash floods)]which cause the wet coal, which results in the coal power stations to grind to a halt.

Thus, the question that begs is how do we halt the disastrous effects of climate change and save our planet?

Saving Mother Earth: The three imperatives

 Suffice to say that there is no quick and easy answer to this question, let alone a workable solution to the current catastrophe. Thus, let’s look at the following three imperatives as an attempt to provide a viable solution to this problem.

The environment a primary concern, not a secondary interest

As Marco Lambertini notes in his article titled “Our planet is on the Brink. Here’s how we save it”, world leaders need to work together to save the planet through “strengthened cooperation.” There is no place for individualism and placing an individual country’s aims and goals above the collective whole.

The only solution has to be a collective one with everyone working together to save one planet. Simply stated, although there are many countries, each with its government and aims, there is only one planet. Therefore, the only successful response has to be a collective response with the same goal of saving the world.

Technology: a key driver of change

By now, most people would have heard of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And, we are currently in the middle of this period in humankind’s history. It is defined as a blurring of the lines between the physical, biological, and digital spheres.

Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, 3D-printing, genetic engineering, the Internet of Things, and robotics are some of the cutting-edge technologies driving change in the way we live. These changes can be both positive and negative to the environment. And, it is up to us to ensure that these technologies are used for the benefit of the environment and not to its detriment.

Sustainability: A key imperative

There are two elements to reversing the effects of climate change on the environment. The first is the collective will to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the second is the sustainability of this decision over the time that it takes to reverse the damage done.

Unfortunately, based on recent history, the collective will reduce our carbon footprint on the earth seems to be there. However, very few of the world’s governments seem to want to commit to fighting the effects of climate change in the long term.

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