For years we’ve dreamed of a future where the skies are clear and innovative gadgets become a common sight. While the gadgets and technological innovations have made their way into our lives, clean cities and fresh air are soon becoming luxuries that we can’t afford.In a time where clean air is difficult to come by, the future seems bleak and troubled to say the least.
India has topped a list:
A recent report on air quality published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed a list of 20 most polluted cities across the globe. Shockingly or not so shockingly for some, half of the cities in that list are Indian. In a similar list released two years ago, New Delhi was the most polluted city in the world at the time. The city has since dropped to the 11th spot with Zabul in Iran taking its place followed by Gwalior and Allahabad.
A few years shy:
In another recent study, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology revealed that the average life expectancy of someone living in New Delhi was 6.4 years less as compared to other metros. The reason for this drastic drop in the average life expectancy was revealed to be air pollution.
How does it affect us?
To understand just how dire the situation is, a report by Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projected that by 2060, close to nine million premature deaths will be caused dues to outdoor air pollution.
According to the report, India, China and other Asian countries are highly affected by air pollution. This is due to the rising population and congested cities leading to hazardous traffic exhaust and power plant emissions.
The report also revealed that in 2010, 508 out of one million deaths in India were caused by outdoor air pollution. However, in 2060, this figure is expected to range from 945 to 2039 per million.
Exposure to excessive air pollution is known to lead to various respiratory problems and even strokes. A stroke is known to lead to disability, loss of vision, loss of speech, paralysis and in extreme cases even death.
How does it affect the economy?
As the quality of the air gets worse, productivity is reduced, the number of hospital admissions increase which leads to more public healthcare spends. Polluted air also affects crop yields that indirectly affects the health.Global economic losses due to pollution are projected to be around 3.75 million by 2060.
What’s the solution?
Needless to say, the solution is one that needs to be undertaken on a national level. There are a number of ways that can be implemented when it comes to reducing air pollutions. Some ways are listed below:
- Use public transport: Using public transport is a popular way to reduce air pollution. You can also consider opting for carpooling that can help you save energy and money.
- Use energy efficient devices: Replacing your old light bulbs with CFL lights can be a smart choice. They last longer, consume less energy and guarantee to reduce your bills drastically by consuming less energy.
- Conserve energy: Fossil fuels are burnt on a large scale to generate electricity. However, many of us usually leave the fan switch and lights on while going out. In such cases, you can save the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels.
- Clean energy resources: With the advancement of technology, you can opt for clean energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. Installing such modern technologies will help reduce air pollution drastically.
If we as a country start implementing the above solutions, we can collectively make a great difference and end up saving not only money but a lot more lives too.
Remember, it starts with one person who encourages his family, colleagues and friends to change. And it will continue when those people encourage others to take up a better lifestyle. Slowly but steadily, we can change the negative predictions made for 2060 and usher in a future that is both figuratively and literally brighter.
So let’s start by taking a deep breath, and go on to change the world we live in.