UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | 16 March 2022

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What’s the article is about?

The article talks about the increased air and ozone pollution and its impact on the health of individuals.

Syllabus: Issues relating to health.

Data:

  • As per WHO, air pollution has led to a growing global health crisis, which already causes about 7 million deaths per year.
  • Air pollution is responsible for 26% of deaths from ischemic heart disease, 24% of deaths from strokes, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 29% from lung cancer. Household air pollution causes about 3.8 million premature deaths each year.
  • 600,000 children below the age of 15 died from respiratory tract infections in 2016.

Causes of air pollution?

  • Ozone pollution is produced by exhaust power plants and motor vehicles exhaust.
  • Indoor burning of fossil fuels, woods, and other biomass to cook, heat, and light homes
  • Industry, including power generation such as coal-fired plants and diesel generators
  • Transport, especially vehicles with diesel engines
  • Agriculture, including livestock, produces methane and ammonia.
  • Open waste burning and organic waste in landfills
  • Burning fossil fuels for power, transport and industry is a major contributor to air pollution.
  • Some of the same pollutants contribute to both climate change and local air pollution, including black carbon or soot and methane.

Impact of air pollution

  • Depletion of ozone: Chlorofluorocarbons attacked and destroyed the ozone layer, producing holes that would allow dangerous ultraviolet light to stream through.
  • Greenhouse gases cause global warming by trapping heat from the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Air pollution converts the rain into a weak acid. Pollutants like NOx, SOx when mixed with rainfall.
  • Mortality: The World Health Organization estimated in 2014 that every year air pollution causes the premature death of some 7 million people worldwide.
  • Cardiovascular disease: Air pollution is also emerging as a risk factor for stroke, particularly in developing countries where pollutant levels are highest.

Measures:

  • WHO’s 4 Pillar Strategy: WHO adopted a resolution (2015) to address the adverse health effects of air pollution. There is a need to adhere to a roadmap highlighted under this. Those four pillars are:
    • Expanding the knowledge base
    • Monitoring and reporting
    • Global leadership and coordination
    • Institutional capacity strengthening
  • Addressing Injustice: The need to enforce the Polluter Pay principle and an environment tax must be levied from industries of polluting in nature.
  • Innovative Measure: There is a need to adopt innovative solutions for the in-situ treatment of pollution. Ex: Pusa decomposer.

All countries should come forward and collaborate with each other by sharing best practices in order to reduce premature deaths and also to achieve SDG 3.9 i.e reducing pollution.



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