World Environment Day : A Knock on Air Pollution

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World Environment Day

World Environment Day is celebrated on the 5th of June every year, and is the United Nation’s principal medium for encouraging awareness throughout the globe and calling action for the protection of our environment.

What does a healthy environment consists of ? Good living conditions, quality air and sustainable resources like water and soil. Sadly, all of these things today are unreachable, we all are facing this global challenge that is global warming. The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world. Each year it is celebrated with the theme revolving and focusing around better environment and growing environmental concerns. Last year the day was hosted by India with the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, and banned import of plastic waste but this still stand contradicting the latest stats that claims India has already imported 25,000 million tonnes (MT) in the first three months of FY 2018-19. On an average the country produces almost 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, of which just over 15,500 tonnes is collected. So the problem is not with the production but more with the management. We need better tools to manage the plastic problem not only in India but throughout the world, as this is a global threat not a nation one. This year the event is hosted by China with the theme “Beat Air Pollution”.

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Pollution is one of the major environmental issue worldwide. Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment and cause adverse changes. It can be either foreign substances or naturally occurring contaminants. There are different types of pollution; air, water, land and plastic of course. Global warming is one of the biggest threat caused by pollution. Talking about air pollution, on an average a person inhales 20% of oxygen and most of that percentage is polluted by contaminants. According to WHO 9 out of 10 people globally inhales toxic air. Every year 4.2 million people die as a result of exposure to polluted air, around 3.8 million deaths each year is a result of household exposure to smoke from dirty cook stoves and fuels; and 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. Increase release of greenhouse gases such as CO2 has caused hole in ozone layer as well. Almost 92 % of people worldwide do not breathe clean air. Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs.

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Now what actually pollution is and how is it created? Pollution is nothing but just the result of careless human activities. It is the outcome of human actions. Water pollution and air pollution together is contaminating sea water and as a result ocean acidification has increased to the maximum. So you see that one pollution causes another pollution, it is a constant chain which is again threatened by our own action. Apart from air pollution, water pollution has crossed its limits. Ocean acidity is increasing on 10% higher rate than the past 55 million years. Then there is plastic, do you know that there are 8 plastic gyre in 5 major oceans in the world! which is again an ultimatum on marine life. Thus we are faced with this one existential question- how much quality environment is left for our future generations. Following that question the World Environment Day is celebrated in order to aware people about global catastrophe. People around the world are at the risk of various chronic diseases such as cancer. To reduce pollution, the basic step is starting from our own doorstep. What you can do is use public transport instead of private vehicles, use car pool and turn off the engine at traffic signals. Why do we always think that someone somewhere is doing something? Why don’t we become that someone? Remember that you cannot do everything thing but perhaps you can do one thing, and doing that one thing can actually make a lot of difference. This Environment Day let’s all take a pledge that we will work together to create a cohesive and better future in terms of quality air for breathing, safe drinking water, a wide range of living species and of course a healthy life for our future generations.

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In India, the Ministry of Environment along with the Bhamla Foundation, has released a song “thodi hawa aane de” emphasizing on the importance of fresh air on World Environment Day. Whereas the day can be observed by various hashtags like #WorldEnvironmentDay or #AirPollution.

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