Airpocalypse - Steps India should take to make its air cleaner

Airpocalypse - Steps India should take to make its air cleaner

Question - Airpocalypse - China took a lot of step to make its air cleaner. What steps would you suggest to New Delhi to improve the quality of air in India?

China has taken concrete steps to be pollution free in the coming decade. India too should focus on improving the quality of air through the following ways.

Steps to Improve Air Quality

• Ban private transportation in urban centres
• Make public transportation the chief mode of travel
• Plan bus and shared cab services at every 500 meters in cities
• Pursue a free trade agreement on environmental goods, services
• Reduce tariff for eco-friendly goods
• Change the energy mix and reduce dependance on fossil fuels
• Outdated coal plants should be decommissioned and share of fossil fuels in energy consumption patterns should be reduced
• Focus on a green trade deal
• Empower regulatory bodies such as National Green Tribunal and Central Pollution Control Board
• Indoor as well as outdoor pollution creating activities such as burning fossil fuels should be banned in major cities where pollution levels are already high
• End subsidies on petrol and diesel
• Implement the SC suggestion for additional charge on private owned vehicles in the nation
• Launch cap and trade schemes for particulates in all states taking the lead from Maharashtra, Gujarat and TN
• Improve the reach of environmental policy
• Develop clean energy technologies
• Do not neglect market based solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development
• Promote afforestation programmes, especially in urban areas
• Encourage residents to recycle plastic products
• Promote and initiate cleanliness drives
• Promote eco-friendly waste management processes

From policy and planning to programmes and initiatives, New Delhi can take a lot of steps to improve the quality of air in Indian cities and towns including rejecting one sided growth policies

Facts and Stats

• Environmental policies are not anti development as per an OECD 2014 report which spanned 24 member countries and found productivity of 44 million companies in the nation from 1990 to 2012 unaffected by stringent ecologically sound policies

• WHO estimates New Delhi as the most polluted city on earth with air pollution close to 60 times higher than safe levels

• The UN body has also estimated 13 of the world’s dirtiest 20 cities are located in India

• Air pollution shortens life expectancy on an average by 3 years for greater than 700 million people in the nation: University of Chicago
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