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In 2015, more than 50 people died everyday in India, according to the Global Burden of Disease. That’s over 18,250 preventable deaths every year! Recently India has surpassed China with the most amount of air pollution deaths worldwide. Over the past ten years, China’s air pollution decreased by 3% while India’s has gone up 23%.
“The data shows that China’s strong measures in tackling pollution have resulted in a steady reduction in the particulate levels. With India, however, the trend is downward. The year 2015, especially, has been the worst-ever recorded for premature deaths by exposure to pollutants,” said Sunil Dahiya, Greenpeace’s India campaigner.
There are several reasons why their pollution has gone up. For starters, they burn a lot of fuelwood and biomass in India for energy. There is also a lack of organized garbage disposals, and sewage treatments that poison the rivers and destroy ecosystems. Rapid urbanization has also caused a buildup of heavy metals in the soil, which are hazardous to people’s’ health.
This leads to several consequences, like the loss of biodiversity and a resilience in ecosystems. Not to mention that there has been less clean water, forests, sand and rocks, which has caused flooding and for the soil to lose all its nutrients.
This has all been a chain reaction, in the past couple decades, China has been passing policies trying to reduce the amount of air pollution, and there has been a slow, steady decline.You can see in the amount of premature deaths, which is 3,233 last year. It has been and still is going down. However, there has been a lack of regulations in India, and it’s clear with the number of premature deaths being 3,283. Unlike China, that number has been on the rise.
“It all has to do with overpopulation. So India’s population growth rate has exceeded China’s because China put all those limitations on family size, which helped to stagnate China’s pollution, they haven’t cleaned up their pollution so much yet, but they have now been surpassed by India because India’s population is growing so more people, more waste, more pollution…,” Marcia Umscheid, science.
The path to fix India won’t be easy, a lot of policy changes will have to take place. It could take a couple decades to bring down India’s pollution levels, but hope and a cultural change is all India needs.