Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s controversial remark that “vested interests” were behind the campaign against air pollution has left many activists fuming. The minister had reportedly attributed the campaign to “forces that do not want India to progress” though on Saturday he did try to clarify his remarks. Ironically, on Friday, the government’s own Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) released an air quality bulletin in which Delhi was shown to be having the poorest air quality among eight cities as ozone levels were high in the city.
Delhiites could be inhaling a cocktail of toxins all through winter, with ‘good air’ days few and far between. A data analysis reveals that air quality in the capital this winter was poor or worse on 86% of days, showing deterioration over the previous two years.
The three-year analysis of air quality during October to February showed that ‘good air’ days — when the AQI is either good or moderate — had also declined from 19% and 22% in the previous two years to 14% in 2014-15.
Life-threatening toxic pollution is one of the biggest global killers, especially of women and children. Moreover, the effects of pollution are usually felt far beyond its source. The good news is that it is a problem that can be solved. Solutions already exist. After all, toxic pollution has already been mostly eliminated in the industrialized world. Now Pure Earth/Blacksmith is fighting to do the same in developing countries.