In 2018, a state-wise report released by Indian Council of Medical Research highlighted that the average life expectancy in Rajasthan would have been 2.5 years higher, if the air pollution levels were less than the minimal level. Kota along with Jaipur, Alwar and Jodhpur comes in the top 100 polluted cities in the country.
What is Air Pollution ?
When air is contaminated by unwanted substances which have a harmful effect on both the living and the non-living, it is referred to as air pollution.
Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases (such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, methane and chlorofluorocarbons), particulates (both organic and inorganic), and biological molecules are introduced into Earth’s atmosphere.Wikipedia
Major Air Pollutants & Their Sources
The substances which contaminate the air are called air pollutants. Pollutants can be added to atmosphere both by natural processes (volcanic eruptions, sand storms, forest fires etc) and man-made processes like ( factories, power plants, automobile exhausts). Few major air-pollutants are
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Vehicle exhaust & burning of fossil fuels.
- Carbon Di-oxide (CO2)
- Principal greenhouse gas
- Burning of fossil fuels.
- Sulphur Oxides
- Petroleum refineries, thermal power plants
- Nitrogen Oxides
- Vehicle exhausts, thermal power plants
- Chloroflorocarbons (CFC)
- Air-conditioning & refrigeration
- Occurs naturally in upper layers of atmosphere. Shields from harmful UV rays.
- However, vehicle exhaust & industries release Ozone near ground. Pollutant with high toxic effects.
- Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM)
- Consists of solids in air in form of smoke, dust & vapour.
- Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5): tiny particles or droplets in the air that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller in width.
- Particulate matter 10 (PM10): Inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller.’
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
- VOCs are categorized as either methane (CH4) or non-methane (NMVOCs).
Indoor Air Pollution in Rajasthan
Indoor air-pollution refers to physical, chemical and biological characteristics of air in indoor environment within a home, institution or commercial space.
- Rural Areas
- More indoor pollution as people reply on traditional fuels such as firewood, charcoal, cowdung for cooking & heating.
- Urban Areas
- Sources of indoor air-pollution in urban areas include lack of ventilation, construction activity etc.
Impact of Air Pollution in Rajasthan
Deaths linked to Air Pollution
- As per a TOI report, over 90 thousand deaths in 2017 in Rajasthan were linked to air pollution.
- According to a 2020 study on health and economic impact of air pollution published in Lancet journal, over 1.13 lakh deaths in Rajasthan have been attributed to air pollution for the year 2019. This is 21.2% of the total deaths reported from Rajasthan in 2019 and is higher than India’s average of 18%.
- The number of deaths caused by air pollution is a sum of deaths attributable to ambient particulate matter, household air pollution and ambient ozone pollution.
- In Rajasthan, the number of deaths resulting from ambient particulate matter pollution stood at 58,167, while 49,352 deaths have been caused by household air pollution and over 2,000 deaths have been attributed to ambient ozone pollution. (source)
Control Measures Air Pollution in Rajasthan
Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB)
RSPCB is the nodal agency for controlling pollution in the state of Rajasthan. It is responsible for implementation of:
- Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
- Rajasthan Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Rules, 1983.
- Fly Ash Act, 1999.
- Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation) Rules, 2000.
- In June 2016, Rajasthan Government had launched mobile application RajVayu for sharing information about air quality index of Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur.
National Air Quality Index (NAQI)
- On April 6, 2015, India had launched its first ever National Air Quality Index (NAQI).
- NAQI classifies pollution levels into 6 categories—good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor and severe—and denotes a color code on the basis of how harmful the pollution in a specific area is.
- Pollutions measured include—PM2.5, PM10, NO2, NH3, SO2, CO and Ozone.
- In Rajasthan, NAQI is measured for Alwar, Ajmer, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Pali, Udaipur.