THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 19 November 2018 (When will India’s war on air pollution finally begin?)

When will India’s war on air pollution finally begin?

Mains Paper 4: Environment
Prelims level: Air pollution
Mains level: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Disaster and disaster management


  •  It is frightening to discover that 28% of pollution deaths worldwide are of Indian citizens and 75% of these victims stay in rural India.
  •  In 2013,China evolved a national working strategy to fight pollution. Under this, they placed a number of restrictions on the use of coal.
  •  Thermal power stations were shut down and people were not allowed to burn coal even for household consumption.
  •  Also, apart from creating norms for vehicular emissions, a number of precautionary measures that could keep air pollution in check were put in place.
  •  For the record, 137,000 people in China lost their lives because of PM 2.5 vehicular emissions just this year.
  •  The Chinese government has acknowledged that pollution has not reduced to the extent that it was targeting in as many as 231 out of 338 Chinese cities.
  •  To overcome this, another three-year working strategy has been prepared.
  • If China can launch a fierce war on pollution, why can’t India?
  •  Until when will we keep lamenting that the form of governance in China is very different from India.
  •  To get approval for its projects, our government requires no-objection-certificates from its own departments.
  •  This leads to development plans getting entangled in red tape and facing legal bottlenecks.

Key highlights about the air pollution report

  •  A recent report by The Lancet Commission on pollution and health reveals that the scourge of pollution claimed the lives of 2.51 million Indians in 2015 alone.
  •  It is frightening to discover that 28% of pollution deaths worldwide are of Indian citizens and 75% of these victims stay in rural India.
  •  India may not be topping the charts in any other sphere, but we are miles ahead of others on this dubious front.
  •  The numbers made public by the Central Pollution Control Board last week affirm as much.
  •  After examining the air quality of 65 cities, they discovered that the quality of 60 of these was poor.

Way forward

  •  Delhi and the areas adjoining it are in the grip of a serious pollution crisis.
  •  Isn’t it a matter of shame that just 65 cities in such a large country as ours have government facilities to measure pollution?
  •  If the pollution levels of every city in the county were to be evaluated, the statistic will be enough to make every citizen anxious.
  •  It isn’t surprising that even migratory birds from distant countries such as Siberia have begun to give India a skip?
  •  The number of migratory birds at Delhi’s Yamuna Biodiversity Park has been reducing over the last three years.
  •  If the pollution continues, even birds will turn their back on us.
  •  It is birds that initiate the process of migration and the process often ends with human beings.
  •  This could be the reason why a recent study discovered that 35% of its residents want to migrate from Delhi. Clearly, the capital has lost some of its sheen.

Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) A mobile App called ‘Hawabadlo’ has been launched in Delhi to check air pollution. Which of the following statements are correct about the App?
1. It has been launched by EPCA, a Supreme Court appointed pollution watchdog.
2. The app provides a public platform to report the incidents causing air pollution.
3. The complaints will be forwarded by EPCA to the concerned officials.

Select the code from below:
a) 1 and 2
b) 2 and 3
c) 1 and 3
d) All of the above

Answer: D

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Can these hollow arguments by India’s politicians compensate for the loss of lives and money caused by pollution?