Combating air pollution -Rural areas should not be left out

Source: The post is based on the article “Combating air pollution -Rural areas should not be left out” published in “Business standard” on 20th July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3- Environmental pollution

News: In this article the author discusses the overlooked issue of air pollution in rural areas. It highlights its causes and the need for equal attention to both urban and rural regions in combating this pollution.

About recent air pollution data

Urban Air Pollution

Urban areas in India recorded a PM 2.5 content of 46.8 microgram in 2022. This is higher than the national threshold of 40 micrograms.

NCAP Focus: The National Clean Air Program (NCAP) targets 130 cities for a 20-30% reduction in PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels by 2024.

About Rs. 89,000 crores have been allocated for the program, focusing solely on urban areas.

Rural Air Pollution

PM 2.5 Content: Rural regions showed almost equal PM 2.5 levels at 46.4 microgram in 2022.

Lifespan Impact: According to the Centre for Science and Environment, villagers lose around seven more months of their potential lifespan due to polluted air.

What Causes Pollution in Rural Areas?

Traditional Ovens: Rural homes commonly use chulhas (clay ovens) that emit smoke.

Conventional Fuels: Fuels like wood, crop residues, and animal dung cakes are burned for cooking.

Diesel Usage: Farm operations rely on diesel-run machinery such as tractors and water pumps.

Crop Residue Burning: Farmers burn crop leftovers, releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.

Fertilisers: Chemical fertilisers contribute to greenhouse gases, especially ammonia and nitrogen dioxide.

What’s the Solution?

Rural and urban areas need equal attention in battling air pollution.

Promoting access to clean fuels and efficient use of farm inputs can help curb rural pollution.

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