Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination:

Dear aspirants this article is About menace of Air Pollution in our cities which is increasing at an alarming rate and causing severe health problems. To learn about this issue we have to understand the causes of pollution,and why government is unable to control this and what should be done in order to tackle this issue. Now problem become serious when smog and exposing the smog makers in a city in where a person dies every hour due to air pollution. How we can clean the air of noxious pollutants to make breathing easier for all.

Air quality and public health:

  • The rate at which urban air pollution has grown across India is alarming. A vast majority of cities are caught in the toxic web as air quality fails to meet health-based standards. Almost all cities are reeling under severe particulate pollution while newer pollutants like oxides of nitrogen and air toxics have begun to add to the public health challenge.
  • Improve air quality monitoring to include more pollutants and more areas in cities to assess the risk of air pollution, make appropriate policies to control it and to create awareness amongst people about hard policy decisions. Ambient air quality standards are constantly evolving to address the emerging health challenges. Only this can help break business and political resistance to hard mitigation measures to combat air pollution.
  • There aren’t too many comprehensive and systematic epidemiological studies to examine the magnitude of adverse health impacts due to air pollution in India.

Invisible foe in air kills 600,000 in a year:

  • Fine particulate matter from industries, cars and biomass causing premature The impact of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) highlighted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) study is felt through a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illnesses that cause premature death.
  • These include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Worldwide, it is estimated to cause about 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths, 11 per cent of COPD deaths, and more than 20 per cent of ischaemic heart disease and stroke. Particulate matter pollution is an environmental health problem that affects people worldwide, but low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience the burden.
  • Of all of pollutants, fine particulate matter has the greatest impact on health. A lot of the fine particulate matter comes from fuel combustion, both from mobile sources such as vehicles and from stationary sources such as power plants, industry, households or biomass burning.

Energy and Transport:

  • Transport sector is the largest user of oil – nearly half of the total consumption, and is poised to make India’s oil security even more precarious. Explosive growth in personal vehicles and steady shift of freight transport from railways to roadways will incite ravenous appetite for energy.
  • Worldwide fuel efficiency standards are crafted by the governments to benchmark improvement in efficiency levels of the vehicle technologies,Fuel economy improvement will also help the Indian industry, which is aiming to globalize, to become more competitive.
  • Given the imperative of energy security in India regulating fuel economy levels of the vehicles will help to achieve substantial fuel savings and societal benefits. Fuel economy regulations will also give ancillary benefit of reducing heat trapping carbon dioxide emissions for climate benefits.
  • The government, therefore, should take immediate steps to give an early deadline to implement fuel economy standards for cars, and introduce an official fuel economy labelling programme. By this India can save 65 per cent of its total current consumption and reduce CO2 emissions equal to removing seven million of today’s four-wheelers.

Climate and transport:

  • For the first time, Indian regulators are faced with this explicit connection – curb local air pollution to save lives, and at the same time, shrink carbon and energy imprints of vehicles to save fuels and the climate. But this synergy is the weakest link in our policies today.
  • Overall transport sector in India is estimated to emit about 15 percent of the CO2 emissions. But consider this – the total consumption of oil is responsible for 57 per cent of the CO2 in the country today. And among all oil-consuming sectors, CO2 emissions from transport are increasing at the fastest rate – at more than 6 per cent per annum. This is daunting for any national combat plan for climate and public health.
  • India must not build on its inherent strength – high usage of public transport, walking and cycling in cities. In India’s key metro cities public transport still meets a large share of commuting demand The current policy obsession with more roads, more parking spaces and more fiscal sops will only bring more cars. Public policies must avert this.
  • Governments around the world are framing policies to push commuters to use buses, subways, trains, bikes, or even walk: to dampen the insatiable need for energy, free up road space from congestion and clean up the air.Tax policies are so distorted that public transport is made to bear a disproportionately high tax burden.
  • The government must not overlook that wrong policies incite more oil guzzling and CO2 emissions in the rebound. For instance, cheap diesel also leads to more driving. Diesel fuel also has higher carbon content. Now science also implicates black carbon emissions from diesel vehicles as a potent greenhouse pollutant!
  • India made the biggest mistake in not setting fuel economy standards for vehicles early. This has serious implications for the growing GHG emissions at this explosive stage of motorisation.
  • We need aggressive roadmap for sustainable mobility to reduce usage of cars and increase ridership of public transport, and aggressive measures on fuel economy standards and clean emissions standards.

Public transport:

  • The biggest challenge that confronts cities today is the intractable problem of automobile dependence. As the automobile dependence continues to grow, it is adversely affecting the quality of urban life. At its root lies the failure of public transport in cities. Only few Indian cities,have dedicated, effective bus services. Smaller cities are even more constrained
  • Building up the public transport agenda with an appropriate mix of improved bus systems and rapid transit systems (either bus- or rail-based) will present a daunting challenge in Indian cities.
  • Cities can choose to have more sustainable transportation system if they choose to change their transportation priorities.

Vehicle Technology and Fuel:

  • Vehicles are a special problem as they emit in the breathing zone of people's.Exposure to vehicle exhaust causes significant increase in respiratory symptoms and lung function impairment, cancer and plethora of other ailments.
  • Leapfrog to clean vehicle technology and fuels and fuel efficient vehicles. Public health goals cannot be met in cities if vehicles continue to meet poor emissions standards.
  • There is no roadmap yet that sets the milestones for uniform and tighter emissions standards for the entire country.
  • The enabling fuels are needed to speed up the technology roadmap. the longer India delays addressing these issues, the longer its citizens will suffer the adverse consequences of the toxic pollution.

Other measures:

  • Gaseous fuels — natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) — have opened up opportunities in India to sidestep conventional and polluting technologies of diesel and petrol. Both natural gas and LPG have the potential to cut particulate emissions from vehicles to negligible levels. Nearly 80 cities in India can have CNG. Implement gaseous fuels programmes with the effective fiscal support and incentives, infrastructure for their maintenance and enforcement of safety regulations to maximise the emissions gains from these programmes.


Despite many warnings from supreme court governments failed to curb the air pollution level in the city. Now it seems a situation of emergency due to excess pollution. What do you think that measures are sufficient or some extra proactive measures needed to curb pollution.

Suggested points:

  • Discuss the alarming situation of pollution in delhi.
  • Concen taken by supreme court regarding this.
  • How dangerous it is for human health and killing many people every year.
  • Causes of current situation.
  • Measures taken by government.
  • Suggestions and conclusion.

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Read 1175 times Last modified on Monday, 07 November 2016 10:45

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