Air pollution management

 In the wake of rapid urbanization, alarmingly high levels of air pollution can be seen in the metropolitan cities like Delhi. Air pollution management is the need of the hour in order to protect our environment and restore the natural purity of air. 

Air pollution : A rising concern 

Air pollution is caused due to the presence of undesirable solid or gaseous particles in the air. It is considered to be one of the major threats to environmental health. The origin of air pollution can be traced back to the time when humans had discovered the usage of firewood. But it started increasing drastically in the beginning of the 20th century due to high scale usage of petrol and diesel. 

Concentration of industries and rapid growth in usage of motor vehicles in the densely populated cities led to high density of pollution. This can not only impact the polluted city or nearby regions, but can also affect the global environment. Ozone layer present in the Stratosphere plays a significant role as a shield against the harmful ultraviolet rays. Depletion of ozone layer and acidification of rain are the consequences of rising pollution levels in the air. 

High levels of harmful gases like Carbon Monoxide are released by poorly maintained vehicles, burning of wood, coal,  or other natural gases. Nitrogen Oxide, Sulphur Oxides, and Lead are some other dangerous chemicals causing air pollution. Prolonged exposure to such pollutants can cause lung diseases, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. These pollutants can also affect the plants as pollutants break down the waxy coating on the leaves which disturbs the process of photosynthesis. 

Management of air pollution

Some stringent laws have been imposed to curb the pollution and control emission of toxic gases.  

  • Motor Vehicle Act was introduced in 1988 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It includes punishment for offences related to air pollution by vehicles. According to the act vehicles emitting gases more than the prescribed limit are punishable. Requirement of a pollution certificate for the vehicle is also mandatory under the act.  
  • Air Pollution Control Act introduced in 1981 aims to limit the emission of particulate matter, Lead, Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur and other such gases. Industries, vehicles, and power plants are punishable if they release more than the prescribed limits of these harmful pollutants. A penalty fine or imprisonment can be given for violation of the rules. The act is implemented and ensured by the Pollution Control Board to improve the air quality.

Role of individuals to curb air pollution

  • First and foremost duty of an individual is to minimise the usage of vehicles emitting pollution as far as possible. This can be achieved by using public transport, cycling or walking for short distances, and car-pooling. 
  • Avoid smoking, especially in public places as it harms the health of the individual and pollutes the air inhaled by people in the vicinity
  • Inform the Pollution Control Board in writing about any industry exceeding the pollution limit and report to the local authorities about cutting down of trees without permission in the locality. 

Air pollution can be managed with the help of collective efforts by the people. It is our duty to act responsibly and incorporate eco-friendly methods in our daily lifestyle as much as possible. 

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