TODAY -

As air pollution level rises what do common man do ?

SK Singh *



As per data released by Air Visual on World Air Quality Index (AGI), rankings across the globe, as on 5 November, this year the Indian sub-continent has the dubious distinction of housing six of the top ten most polluted cities in the world.

With the national capital city Delhi topping the list the other cities occupying this distinctive position are Lahore, Karachi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Kathmandu. This scenario also speaks about major pollution concentration in the South Asian Countries, which in any case are categorised this day as the less-developed region in the world.

Coming to the issue of air pollution, the above report places Delhi at the top at AQI of 527 on Friday, the 5th November, 2019. According to the data which is updated frequently to the extent of a change in rankings during the day, Delhi broke all records on Nov 5 when it was in the hazardous range for nine consecutive days, making this the longest spell of hazardous air quality since public records began.

The three cities in India occupying position among the top 10 most polluted cities, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai are attributed AQI of 527, 161 and 153. The pollution concentration in Delhi is something phenomenal reaching a level over double the level in the second most polluted city Lahore pegged at 234. What then is in store for the country as a whole and more particularly for the national capital?

Equally terrifying is the recent revelation of the Environment Ministry. The Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in the Lok Sabha on Friday last that India generates over 25000 tones of plastic wastes every single day. He also added that of this huge waste only around 60% get collected for disposal either in a processing unit or a dumpy. More disturbing reality is, of the 60% collected by civic bodies and NGOs, just around 15% get processed to be gainfully utilized.

The larger portion nearly 6 times this quantity remain to be processed. In other words around 85% of those so called collected remain on the rampage to add to the burgeoning problems of trash adding to the menace of environmental pollution. This formidable Plastic Gang of which plastic bottles are the principal constituents continue to flex muscles as the well off in the society increasingly rely on bottled drinking water.

The rest roughly 40%, an enormous lot of 10,000 tones are left everyday to litter in the open. This 10,000 could be more even considering the fact that government estimates or projections often caught underestimated or overestimated depending on the items or the commodity.

If it is GDP the urge is for an overestimate (like it happened last year when the NDA government allegedly revised the national income to exceed the ones during the UPA regime resulting to widespread criticism) or if it is a case of death rate or infant mortality rate, the urge I to decrease.

Ironically, this apparent leftover or could it be inefficient disposal of garbage, is attributed to ever increasing usage of plastic in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. The minister admitted to difficulty in management of plastic wastes. The Central Pollution Control Board found in a study covering 60 cities across the country, that over 4000 tons per day of plastic waste is generated only from these cities only.

One can visualize then the quantity of plastic refuse that would be generated from across the states and UTs. The GOI itself projects that around 25, 950 tons per day of plastic waste is generated in India. The scenario is near parallel, hereto in that in the area of plastic garbage disposal too, just around 60% is reportedly collected for recycling and thus reusing in manufacturing of several products.

The tragedy is in the area of the uncollected 40% of the huge near 26,000 tons per day. These accumulate over the years all across the country only to add to the calamity of plastic items littered around and more significantly in the drains, lakes, rivers and the oceans.

In my previous piece on 09-07-2019, on the caption, “The Plastic Gang On Its Choking Mission”, while the general woes were gone into in terms of accumulated garbage of 40% of total waste uncollected over and above another magical parameter again 40% of plastic wastes left littered around to add to the strength of the ‘Plastic Gang’ to attract our environment consistently over the days, some simple innovations were narrated.

In view of the emerging problem faced across the country in almost near parallel ways, the modality used by a nondescript NGO based in Mumbai can generate some thought.

Environmental pollution understandably cannot and should not be left for the public institutions only to work on; we the common man, the society at large too have to share responsibilities. We the citizenry in the Leikais, localities, the villages, the towns and the likes should be responsible too for curbing the menace. The initiation should emanate from houses, the families, the Leikais and

upwards to the towns etc. The family should be the unit of action in curbing the haphazard manner of littering debris. The civil authorities of course should be more proactive in collecting and disposal of the wastes.

A great heartening development only on November 25, the 50th conference of Governors took place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan when the President emphasized on the imperative need for the Governors and the Lt. Governors to lead discussions on how to create awareness of the public about fundamental duties among the people. In fact it is reported that five groups of Governors submitted their reports to the President on issues related, among others, water, ease of living etc.

The President reiterated, “It is the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect the natural environment including water resources like forests, lakes and rivers.” He suggested Governors to make their respective Raj Bhavans more interactive and accessible to ordinary people and representatives of different organs of the society.


* SK Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The Writer can be contacted at kunjabiharis(AT)rediffmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 26, 2019 .


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