• 16 out of 30 most polluted cities are in India : WHO 2016 report
  • As per 2015 report, New Delhi was the most polluted city of the world followed by Patna, Gwalior & Raipur.
  • New Delhi had highest concentration of PM2.5 (153 mg/cubic meter compared to WHO standard of Less than 10 mg/cubic meter)
  • Article 21 of the Indian constitution provides its citizens the right to pollution free environment
  • Emission from ships can impact monsoon activity over Bay of Bengal
  • India is among the nations that have extremely high level of PM2.5 : WHO
  • In India, 2.51 million people died prematurely in 2015 due to diseases linked to air, water and other forms of pollution. India has topped the countries with Pollution related deaths : Lancet Report
Causes of Pollution:
  • Thermal Power Plants especially which are based on coal
  • Industries nearby cities and their effluent going into the rivers without treatment
  • Mismanagement of domestic and civil waste
  • Vehicular emission
Steps taken by government to curb it:
  • Green corridor initiative : planting trees alongside highways
  • Promoting CNG
  • Odd-Even trials
  • Phasing out older diesel vehicles
  • Jumping to Bharat Stage VI fuels from Stage IV
  • Namami Gange
  • Various infrastructural initiatives like Smart Cities, RURBAN, AMRUT etc.
  • Properly defining e-waste rules and then strictly following them. Incentivize manufactures to recycle what they produce.
  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has made it mandatory for all automobile manufacturers to provide emission and noise pollution details for every vehicle they produce by April 2017. Ministry has amended Form 22 under the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 through which manufactures provide the initial certification of compliance of vehicles
What is needed?
  • Stringent norms and strict punishment to polluters
  • Strict implementation of “Polluters Pay Policy”
  • More emphasis on renewable energy sources
  • Revamping waste management system in our cities and strict implementation of Waste Management Rules
  • SC ordered to cease the operation of all diesel taxies in Delhi (A case of Judicial Activism)
Coal remains the main fossil fuel for power generation in India. What are the health impacts of air pollution from these coal-fired power plants? Also assess the success of current environment regulatory framework for coal power plants in India. (200 Words)
India is the world’s second largest coal burner after China, generating 210 GW of electricity a year, mostly from coal.
Health Impacts:
  1. Millions of cases of asthma, respiratory distress and heart disease
  2. NCEP analysis estimates incremental changes in the ambient pollutant concentrations due to the presence of coal-fired power plants. Specially, the Indo- Gangetic plain, with states of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh harbor the largest coal mines in the country.
  3. Adverse impacts are especially severe for the elderly, children
  4. More than, 100,000 people died prematurely in 2011-12 due to emissions from thermal power stations
Needs for improvements in current laws:
  1. The environment clearance procedures require self-assessment for only 10km radius of the Thermal Power Plants (TPPs); whilst the impacts are observed at much greater distances, considering the minimum stack height for a 500MW TPP is 275m.
  2. Immediate introduction of emission standards for SO2, NOx, and Mercury for all the coal-fired TPPs. This should be applied also retrospectively to all the operational power plants, in order avail all the possible benefits.
  3. Introduction of protocols to continuously monitor emissions at all stacks and make the data available to pollution control authorities, civil society, and the public, for further analysis and verification of the emission loads.
  4. Regulating emissions at the plant level by mandating FGD operations for all the existing, the newly commissioned, and the planned TPPs in India.
Critically highlight the hazards of indoor air pollution. Suggest what measures are needed to address this issue. (200 Words)

Air pollution is a major concern in this rapidly industrialized world. Indoor air pollution out of that can be easily controlled than controlling outdoor. Most of the indoor pollutants are released by using solid fuels (wood, charcoal, coal, dung), kerosene lit lamps.
Fine particles and carbon monoxide are also damaging pollutants indoors. Hazards:
  1. Women and children are more susceptible to these. It can create serious health issues to women.
  2. They cause many diseases like chronic obstructive lung disease, lung cancer, cataract.
  3. They can also cause high blood pressure and heart diseases.
  4. They are responsible for more than a million deaths in the country every year.
  1. We need to switch to clean fuel.
  2. Government need to expand the reach of LPG so that it reaches to more and more rural areas.
  3. Government can extend the subsidies to people in lower strata for LPG.
  4. Government need to stop subsidies on kerosene, so that its use as fuel is discouraged.
  5. People should make their homes with proper ventilation and airy.
Indoor air pollution can be stopped with few small measures if government and people themselves make effort for it. It will help in improving the health of women specially and will protect children from its harmful effects



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