Consistently deteriorating air quality is a serious issue brought on by fossil fuel usage. Not only developing countries but, even developed countries cannot seem to get out of this bind, since they share the environment with rest of the world. Cities of the world that are spewing most of the fumes are- Zabol (Iran), Gwalior (India), Allahabad (India), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Al Jubail (Saudi Arabia) etc. Within 2016, 6.5 million people suffered and lost their lives due to air pollution and contaminants. Increasing air pollution has great impact on children as well, which is clearly indicated through the raise in children mortality rate (stood at 1.7 million in 2016).
Global relative losses of wheat due to air pollutants is estimated to be 7%–12% and reducing in rice production stands at 3%–4%. Cities like Los Angeles, and London have also suffered from increasing sir pollution during 1940–1960. However, USA has made great strides in changing the scenario for its cities and created regulatory framework, institutional mechanisms, and policy interventions that have proven to bring down pollution easily.
We can take California for example, which has reduced its air pollutants considerably (75%–90%). Also EU has done exceptional work in reducing the air contaminants, and statistics show that initiatives taken by the continent (27 countries) have reduced 71% NOX and 69% particulate matter from air.
China has also taken measures in sectors like power generation, transport, and industrial infrastructure management to cut down the release of pollutants in the air. Discovery and acceptance of solar energy as a viable mainstream energy source has also made it easier for countries to control air pollution.
How India is Faring
Understanding the impact of air pollution short and long term, Government of India is working towards reducing air pollution. It is indeed a complex issue and requires internal and external collaboration as we share our air with the whole world. In India, different agencies are working together to shoulder the responsibility of leading the country towards a better air and environment.
Here is a list of agencies involved in reducing air pollution levels in India:
- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
- Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
- City Government, Urban Development, and Energy development agencies
However, to make a faster effect on the environment, Indian and other countries need to learn from each other in fighting the pollution.
Energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to rise globally from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040, if we continue using fossil fuels. On the other hand, it is important to note that 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually.
Therefore, it is fair to state that selecting solar to curb the greenhouse gas emission and air pollution was a decisive move for India, which by the way inspired neighbouring country to take the initiative.
But the country needs to collaborate to create and inspire to uphold a sustainable environment. Collecting information on multitude of regulatory, policy, and institutional aspects can help India and neighbouring countries to make positive changes on saving the planet.
Collaboration Is The Way
States and countries working together to decide upon best policy design, capacity development, resource mobilization can deliver a better result than a country or a state working in isolation in air quality improvement. Working together will offer-
- Ease of implementation
- Analysis towards cost effectiveness of actions
- Comparative analysis of mitigation options
- Bird’s eye view on market based challenges and regulatory approach to get results faster
India and other countries that are taking progressive steps towards making a better and sustainable world through solar energy generation and utilization rather than fossil fuel usage, needs to collaborate to multiply their efforts and results.
Share your thoughts with me on this at @gyaneshc.