Pollution is our dreaded threat for the Planet

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N. Munal Meitei
Environmentalist, email-nmunall@yahoo.in

“Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.”-Barry Commoner.

The National Pollution Control Day is observed on 2nd December to give honor to the people who had lost their live in Bhopal gas tragedy on December 2-3 in 1984. Approximately 45 tons of methyl isocyanate escaped from the Union Carbide Industry claiming the death toll of 15,000 to 20,000 people with over half a million injured and suffering from various diseases. Much to the disgust of environmentalists, more than 400 tons of industrial waste lay present on the site still today. The deteriorating soil and water qualities has been blamed for generations worth of birth defects after the tragedy. The day remind us on how to manage and control industrial disasters caused due to human negligence.

This day also creates awareness about the hazards and impact of pollution on environment, people and the mother earth. Celebration of this day also promotes eco-friendly practices like ban of polythene, encourage plantation, water conservation practices and spreading awareness on how to prevent the air pollution, water pollution, industrial pollution etc. to make our planet better place for all the living beings. It is important to note that each individual has a huge role to fight against pollution for the health and the planet. Every people need to cultivate a better attitude towards reducing pollution for the earth in every aspects. A clean environment cannot be achieved with the efforts of a selected few.

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Pollution is one of the most common things that are making this earth dirty day by day. Air pollution knows no boundaries and engulfs everywhere that comes in its way. It’s very dangerous and making pernicious effect on health of all living organisms. Plastic pollution is also degrading the soil, the skin of earth and killing marine lives incessantly.

According to the National Health Portal of India, every year around 70 lakh peoples globally die due to air pollution, 40 lakh of whom die from indoor air pollution. Pollution level for the country is so extreme that nine out of ten people does not have access to safe and pure air. Water and air, the two most essential resources of all living beings, have been so polluted by human activities. Hence it is high time to spread awareness on pollution and their adverse effects on our health and the mother nature.

Air pollution is responsible for 12.5% of all deaths in India. Which is to say that 1 out of every eighth death in the country is because of air pollution. The harmful gases in the air kill an average of 8.5 out of every 10,000 children in country before they turn 5 years old in which girls are more vulnerable (WHO-2018). While pollution was supposed to reduce average life expectancy by 1.5 years, new reports have suggested that life expectancy will be reduced by more than 2 years now.

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A 2020 survey showed that out of the top 14 most polluted cities in the world, 10 are in India and Delhi being the most polluted city in the world. Household fuels used for cooking and heating purposes are the biggest contributor to the PM 2.5 values in the country. Coal burning in power plants and industries is a close second and third largest contributor. In the country, air pollution has become one of the major causes of frequent hospital visits. Most of the rivers in India are dressed with plastics and 86% of all of them considered “critically polluted”. There are 351 polluted river stretches in India.

Air pollutants are so tiny that they seep through mucus membrane and other protective barriers and cause damage to your lungs, brain and heart. Not only does it harm an individual’s health, but also damage the ozone layer and many other environmental deterioration.

It is a common practice that the government and the people of India often neglect the seriousness of Air Pollution as just a winter issue. There is an instant need to understand that air pollution is not a seasonal issue but a national problem. Although the pollution rate was gradually reduced after the COVID lockdown which has led to an onsurge of people going out, but once again we are negating all environmental gains earned during the lockdown period.

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A pollution-free environment is very necessary for everyone to do all the tasks in a better way and to remain disease free. Pollution can result in making the people behavioral change and avoid concentration in any of the activities which can result in incomplete of their goal.

Pollution can be reduced by changing our habits such as using public transports, turn off the lights when not in use, recycle and reuse, no to plastic bags, reduction of forest fires and smoking, less use of fans and air conditioner and to enhance afforestation. Planting trees provides a lot of benefits to the environment including the oxygen.

India needs a network of air quality checking stations in every parts including the rural areas. There is also an emerging need for holistic research on rural air pollution. The government need to implement schemes to mitigate the pollution. Only then on coming the National Pollution Control Day-2022, we can sustain the essence of India.

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