Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in India after high blood pressure, indoor pollutants, tobacco-smoking and poor nutrition, and is direct cause of about 620,000 premature deaths every year. Like China, India too faces an unprecedented public health crisis due to extremely bad air quality. Some recent analysis of government data by the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) clearly shows how unliveable our metros have become.
A few lines on CSE Data –
The onset of winter this year exposed a large part of the country to severe smog, which hung over our cities like an ominous sign of the days to come. Soon the blame game started, but nothing concrete happened to alleviate the situation. From stubble burning to vehicular emission to industrial emission, every possible cause was discussed, but without any clue to bring it under control.
From newspapers to channels to magazine to social media, the buzz was only about air pollution and within days, Delhi got branded as the city with worst air quality in the world. As reported, the pollution level in the Capital city was 40-times over the safe limits.
High level meetings of state minister, bureaucrats resulted into nothing and a week later the smog lifted, just as it has descend, on its own and with it, the discussions and meetings too lost their steam.
While the threat and its causes are clear, it’s high time to bring all stakeholders together and start discussing the solutions, which may not be easy and simple. But the solution can’t be found in silos and for short term.
At SIAM, we take the onus on us to discuss the issue of vehicular pollution and be a partner with the government and other stakeholders to walk in the direction of a comprehensive solution. It is noteworthy here that automobile companies have always been on the forefront to discuss the issue and offer solutions, limited albeit, because it would be unfair to blame us in totality.
While the industry faced the maximum blame, it is an established fact that the haze/smog was caused by stubble burning.
While the debate continues and the air quality keeps getting worse, the automobile industry will keep moving in the direction of finding solutions and will lead from the front against the issue of air pollution.
The industry does not seek to earn any brownie points, it simply doesn’t help. We are developing the solutions, it would be better if everyone does so, just their own bit.