Editorial: Increasing air pollution

Srinagar: With Kashmir witnessing no downpour for almost five months in a row, the air quality has gone for a hit as no reliable measures are available here to check the air pollution level. The Indian Capital city of New Delhi is right now engulfed in a smog which is creating serious problems for the people. The situation in Kashmir is no better.

The major USP which Kashmir enjoyed was its pristine air and water resources. But owing to the lackadaisical attitude by one and all, has left us panting for quality air. What is more worrisome is the inability of the government to ensure that air quality is checked in major cities like Jammu and Srinagar.

The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, an international agency has given a grim picture of India with the record of 25 per cent of world total fatalities owing to polluted air. This shows how much polluted the air and water is in India. China follows India in the scale with 18 lakh deaths due to polluted air and water.

A 2013, Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, shows air pollution as one of the top 10 killers in the world. In South Asia, air pollution is ranked as the sixth most dangerous killer.

WHO report, titled ‘Cost of Air Pollution’ states that outdoor air pollution kills more than three million people across the world every year, and causes health problems from asthma to heart disease for many more.

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015, 16% of all deaths worldwide and three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.

This is a very depressing picture. It shows that all efforts made so far to control pollution in India have not proved successful and that more serious efforts need to be made if India wants to give its future generations a healthy environ.

The condition in our State is still worse. We are not able to control air pollution in the two capital cities of the State despite the fact that there is the State Environment agency that is expected to take care of pollution and prevent it.

However, for various reasons this agency has not been very active and has not really done the important task of controlling pollution of air and water. We do not have the figures of fatalities taken place during past few years owing to air pollution.

Even a common man needs no lesson on the effects of air pollution on health. Doctors at the leading hospitals in Srinagar say that given the number of patients with respiratory problems such as dyspnea, cough, respiratory tract infections and irritations point out that the air pollution level has gone out of hands in the state.

The government needs to wake up before it is too late. The situation is alarming and a planned and a sustained approach is the need of the hour.


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