Globally, 1 in every 4 kids dies under the age of 5 due to air pollution. 570,000 under the age of 5 die due to respiratory infections and around 361,000 die due to polluted water. Is this the life that we are going to give to our future generations? Why has our greed blinded our wit and why are we destroying the Mother Nature? In my previous article Do you know How the USA, China, and India are Infecting You with Cancer or Other Respiratory Diseases?-Part1, I explained how air pollution in China is playing a key role in polluting the global environment but it’s not just China who’s solely responsible. Air pollution in India, and in the United States has almost the similar impact on air pollution around the world. Let’s find out their contribution to this hazard.
There are various factors that collaborate to conspire against India’s cleaner environment, few of them are:
Vehicular pollution is one of the biggest causes of pollution in India. The major emissions via vehicles are nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon mono oxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. Around 55,000 vehicles are registered across India every day. In urban cities, almost everyone owns a car. Pollution control in vehicles is a joke as you can get a pollution certificate for your vehicle for less than a dollar and that too without any test. The cheapest mode of transportation is auto rickshaws which are a mockery to clean air. Other vehicles causing pollution are trucks and public transport. There is nothing being done to control the number of increasing vehicles which are polluting the environment at an alarming rate.
India is a huge country or subcontinent to govern. The recently formed government has taken some good initiatives like “Swachh Bharat” means clean India where the Indian Prime Minister went to the streets himself to show people the importance of cleanliness. You know the situation of garbage is grave in a country when the Prime Minister of the country is requesting the countrymen to keep the country clean. The previous governments or the state governments never gave pollution control any importance. Corruption has also affected the condition of pollution to a very great extent. No monitoring of factories causing pollution, accepting bribes for pollution negligence and breaking rules with zero or very fewer consequences has left India in a much-polluted state.
Second largest population means at least second largest human waste in the world. The population of India is almost 1.2 billion. The amount of waste generated every day is way over the limit that can be treated by Indian recycling plants. Many recycling facilities by the government are working beyond their expiry dates, adding salt to the wound. There have been many instances of these old recycling units catching fires and burning waste instead of getting it recycled, which is hazardous. On top of that, Indians are not educated enough to differentiate between non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste and the concept of throwing garbage in trash bins. That is why you can see all sort of trash on Indian streets. It’s not only the poor who does that you can see the similar behavior for garbage disposal in the richest and well-educated communities. Burning waste is another Indian way of getting rid of waste. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or sheer ignorance.
With the boom in air travel and government’s initiatives like “UDAN”, people belonging to the low-income group of India can travel by air now. This kind of service is going to help in the growth of the country but the question is at what cost. Alone in the year 2016, global flights produced 811 million tons carbon dioxide whereas all human beings in the world produced 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide. This can account for the fact that India is an upcoming player in aviation pollution as it took over Japan for third place in the world for domestic travel. Aviation pollution is going to keep increasing and no one seems to be bothered by it.
As India has entered the race of consumerism with China, more and more Industries are being set up every year. The industries are not the problem. The waste these industries are dumping without proper measures is the major problem. SO2 and NO2 are few of the gasses being released in staggering amounts by these industries. Apart from air pollution, these Industries are dumping the solid waste into sewage and open spaces. There is no monitoring of these industries and they are not concerned about the environment either. Even though the population of India is almost 4 times that of USA, the power consumption in the USA is 4 times more than India.
This brings me to another major contender in world's pollution race, i.e the USA.
The USA and European countries are the authors of the modern world’s pollution saga. Is the USA, the land of opportunities and prosperity or pollution and grave capitalism? The current situation with strict immigrant laws and pulling out of Paris climate deals suggest the later. The USA is not only contributing to the pollution in the world directly but it is also indirectly contributing to the pollution by being the largest goods importing country from China. EPA has helped the United States to an great extent but the problem is not completely gone. Let’s see some of the facts that implicate the USA is a partner in crime with China and India for the world pollution.
The indirect way the USA has been contributing to world pollution is by being the chief trade partner with China. In 2016, USA made $463 worth of product import from China. So indirectly American citizens are paying to pollute China and which in return is going to come back to America. American companies like to trade with cheap Chinese market for profit as these American companies don’t have to take care of the pollution norms or other rules like minimum labor wages etc. The products are cheaper in China as they don’t follow rules and regulations.The pollution in China is affecting the USA with blowing winds and ocean water.
Almost everyone owns a car in the United States. There are 253 million vehicles on US roads. The permissible age of a vehicle in the US is 11.5 years and there are 60 million vehicles operating from more than 16 years. Since the fuel prices are cheap, the vehicular pollution is rising. Till 2005, US was the country with a maximum number of vehicles in the world. America has gone through a major revelation for pollution control. All thanks to the conscious citizens of USA.
Even though the USA has much better recycling units than India and China, it still is the third largest population in the world and has more waste than it can handle. The USA is doing a better job than its other counterparts but still is producing a large amount of waste. The amount of waste produced in the USA during 2013 according to LA times was 254 tons, which was more than China. The sad part is that US citizens are oblivious to these facts.
Coal based factories are a direct threat to our environment. Companies using coal as an alternate for power has been active in the USA since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and are still active. These plants are responsible for 80% greenhouse gas emission and other dangerous chemicals like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, etc. USA government has been covering its track for a long time now. This is one of the reasons why you won’t find much information about pollution in the USA.
To solve all these problems we all need to come together and start acting rather than just complaining or ignoring the invisible killer, pollution. Governments need to take strict measures to keep a check on maintaining the minimum pollution standards for all the industries. There are various organizations working towards a better Earth. We can help them by supporting their cause. Let’s make efforts rather than excuses because we all know the solution to pollution.
I hope it was a good read. Kindly share your views and concerns in the comment section below.
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