TODAY -

Time to 'beat air pollution'

Ranjan K Baruah *



Our environment is important for us and it is everything that is around us. It can be living or non-living things. It includes physical, chemical and other natural forces. Living things live in their environment. They constantly interact with it and adapt themselves to conditions in their environment.

In the environment there are different interactions between animals, plants, soil, water, and other living and nonliving things. As we are aware that this is important, so it is also important for us to save the environment for ourselves.

The main source of household air pollution is the indoor burning of fossil fuels, wood and other biomass-based fuels to cook, heat and light homes. Around 3.8 million premature deaths are caused by indoor air pollution each year, the vast majority of them in the developing world.

In many countries, energy production is a leading source of air pollution. Coalburning power plants are a major contributor, while diesel generators are a growing concern in off-grid areas. The global transport sector accounts for almost one-quarter of energyrelated carbon dioxide emissions and this proportion is rising.

Transport emissions have been linked to nearly 400,000 premature deaths. There are two major sources of air pollution from agriculture: livestock, which produces methane and ammonia, and the burning of agricultural waste. Around 24 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide come agriculture, forestry and other land-use.

Open waste burning and organic waste in landfills release harmful dioxins, furans, methane, and black carbon into the atmosphere. Globally, an estimated 40 percent of waste is openly burned. Not all air pollution comes from human activity. Volcanic eruptions, dust storms and other natural processes also cause problems.

Sand and dust storms are particularly concerning. We are both creatures and moulder of their environment and mostly we do it according to our choice and interest which gives us physical sustenance and affords us the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth.

The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the wellbeing of peoples and economic development throughout the world, designated 5 June as World Environment Day( WED).

The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

Each WED is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2019, “Beat Air Pollution,” is a call to action call to combat this global crisis.

Chosen by this year’s host, China, this year’s topic invites us all to consider how we can change our everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce, and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health.

The year 1972 marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics: the first major conference on environmental issues, convened under the auspices of the United Nations, was held from June 5-16 in Stockholm (Sweden).

Later that year, on 15 December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) designating June 5 as WED and urging “Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness and to pursuing the determination expressed at the Conference.”

The date coincides with the first day of the landmark Conference. Also on 15 December, the General Assembly adopted another resolution (A/RES/3000 (XXVII)) that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the specialized agency on environmental issues.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nation on his message said that “to improve air quality, we must know our enemy. Deaths and illnesses from air pollution are caused by tiny particles that penetrate our defences every time we fill our lungs.

These particles come from many sources: the burning of fossil fuels for power and transport; the chemicals and mining industries; the open burning of waste; the burning of forests and fields; and the use of dirty indoor cooking and heating fuels, which are major problems in the developing world.”

“It is time to act decisively. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution; end fossil fuel subsidies; and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy not a grey economy,” he added. Every year a theme is being chosen on the occasion of WED. It is up to us whether we want to preserve our environment or destroy the same.

Let us become selfish for ourselves and our children and start preserving the environment. Let us not forget that we don’t have any other planet to live, so, we must take action and make it happen. Let us not limit ourselves to mere awareness but believe in action for positive change to save our environment. Together we can and we must save our environment.


*** With direct inputs from UN publication


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 05 2019.



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