In a FB Live Session yesterday, environmentalist Sunita Narain criticised Environment Minister Anil Dave’s disregard for the increasing air pollution in India.

She said, “I was shocked to see the comments of the minister. There is more than enough evidence that shows air pollution kills. It’s a national crisis and the minister cannot abdicate his responsibility to deal with it… It’s a national emergency, not a Delhi emergency.”

The comments were regard to the environmental report concluding that air pollution is the cause of more premature deaths in India than in China, which was not considered by the minister.

Sunita Narain is the Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), who has played a major role in educating the citizens and the government on environmental issues.

According to the State of Global Air 2017 report, “The concentration of the most significant inhalable pollutant, fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less (PM2.5), has been growing in India,” (as reported by The Hindu).

Surpassing China, India now accounts for the maximum number of premature deaths from ozone pollution and was second in terms of early deaths due to ultrafine particulate PM 2.5.

Narain has been fighting to get the government’s attention and solution for the problem of air pollution that haunts the nation, especially Delhi which last year broke records of being one of the most polluted cities. A report released by Greenpeace India in 2016 stated that India had surpassed China in death toll due to pollution.

3,283 premature deaths in India are due to ambient air pollution every day, as opposed to China’s 3,233 per day

Burning of crops in nearby areas also contributed to the thick smog that took over Delhi last year. As much as 500 million tonnes of crop residues are collected annually in India. There are steps to convert the waste into useful products such as enriched fodder, biogas, biofuel and compost, but there needs to be a strict push from the government to be able to implement such practices. For how long are we going to pretend that environment is not anyone’s concern?

Feature Image Courtesy: Veethi