Why is pollution in India such a big problem? In this feature article I am going to talk about some of India’s pollution issues. Both air and water are today India’s biggest cause of pollution. Each year approximately 9 million people in the whole world die of pollution. That means pollution kills tree times more people than tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria combined. India has the most deaths and about 2.5 million people are dying earlier due to pollution.
Exposure to high amounts of air pollution, particularly over long periods of time can affect the respiratory and inflammatory systems, that can cause heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
In the next 35 years India is expected to gain more than 400 million urban citizens. The two biggest cities in India; Delhi and Mumbai are often described as megacities. Delhi is already the world’s second most populated city and is expected to out run Tokyo, in 2030. When a populations growth at this scale is combined with quick urbanization, there is bound to be environmental, social consequences and political issues. In 2014 the world health organization (WHO) determined that Delhi has the world’s worst air quality (based on the concentration of fine particles).
India’s cities have grown randomly, with little consideration to how the urban system works as a whole. The city areas often lack sufficient regional transport networks. Unofficial housings have emerged in unused city districts and suburban areas, that compromises environmental conditions, public health and personal safety. In India, the government has no say in the managing of air pollution. What the prime minister Narendra Modi decides, the state governs that are under the control of different parties are likely to prevent, or it will not be given enough attention and resources to. However, time and resources are exactly what this issue requires, to be resolved.
Of the 4.3 million deaths that happen each year as a result of “indoor air pollution”, WHO estimates that nearly one-third (1.3 million) occur in India. A new report claims that a tougher environmental managing would add 3.2 years to Indian life expectancy. This specific welfare gain would include economic benefits. That represents a significant amount of human productivity, creativity and help to families and society.
Water pollution is a big issue in India. The discharge of untreated waste water is the main contamination cause of the surface and groundwater in India. There is a big gap between generations and their treatment of household waste in India. The problem isn’t just the lack of enough treatment capacity but also the sewage treatment plants that exist don’t operate most of the time because they’re not maintained. The majority of state-owned purifications plants remain closed most of the time due to incorrect design, poor maintenance or lack of reliable power supply for the water purification plants, along with absentee staff and poor management. The waste water generated in these areas have normally seept to the soil or evaporated. The uncollected waste collects in urban areas, causing unhygienic conditions and releases toxic waste that leak to the surface and groundwater.
A study done in 1992 by World Health Organization reported that only 209 of India’s 3119 towns and cities had partial sewage treatment facilities, more shockingly only 8 had full wastewater treatment facilities. The river water that is polluted from the untreated water is used for washing, bathing and drinking. A report from 1995 claimed that 114 Indian cities were dumping partially cremated bodies and untreated sewage into the Ganges River. Indian rivers are severely polluted as a result of discharge of domestic sewage. Many developing countries lack toilets and sanitation facilities and that causes open discharge of urine and feces in rural and urban areas of India. These are reasons for surface water pollution.
Because India hasn’t handled the consequences of the quick urbanization they are not enjoying the positive results that they could have had. That means economic benefits such as human resources, creativity and help to families and society are left unclaimed. One idea is to write an official declaration, that will signalize to the Indian citizens that the country intends to save its aging population from life shortening effects that urbanization has caused. It is outstanding how the two main reasons for life, water and air, in India have become so polluted that it reduces the lives of over 2.5 million people.