Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS-III Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management
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Why in News?

  • Indoor air pollution accounted for 40% of PM 2.5 pollution in the Gangetic basin.


  • India can achieve its air quality goals if it completely eliminates emissions from household sources. A recent study has pointed out that the use of firewood, kerosene and coal in the households contributed to about 40% of the PM 2.5
  • pollution in the Gangetic basin districts.
  • This number varied across the country but household emissions remained one of the major culprits behind air pollution. The results showed that by eliminating household emissions the average outdoor air
  • pollution levels could be reduced and brought within the national ambient air quality standards.
  • The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science also notes that “if all households transitioned to clean fuels, about 13% of premature mortality in India could be averted.” At the national scale, mitigating household emissions is also expected to bring large health benefits. You can’t have a clean environment when about half the houses are burning dirty fuel every day.
  • We have realised that pollution may start in the kitchen, but it doesn’t stay there… it
  • becomes part of the general outdoor air pollution

Satellite Data

  • Using satellite data and chemical transport model simulations, the researchers pointed out that complete mitigation would bring down the country’s average annual PM 2.5 air pollution to 38 microgram/cubic metre.
  • Surprisingly, this is below India’s national ambient air quality standard of 40 microgram/cubic metre and slightly above the World Health Organization (interim target
  • standards of 35 microgram/cubic metre. “In many villages, they still use firewood for room heating and water heating. People prefer cheap wood fuel despite LPG being provided to many households,” says Sourangsu Chowdhury, a D. scholar at IIT Delhi
  • “In Delhi NCR, stubble burning, industrial and power plant emission, brick kilns and vehicular emissions are the major contributors. Even after mitigating household emissions, Delhi NCR would remain out of attainment. It needs more serious and stringent measures.”

Multipronged approach

  • “But India’s pollution problem is much bigger than often perceived. Our study has demonstrated that mitigating at a household level is the easiest and more practical way out for the government to reduce not only the household pollution but also outdoor air pollution at the national scale,” says Prof. Dey. “We definitely need a multi-pronged approach to control emission from other major sectors like industries, transportation, and power plants to effectively

What is PM 2.5?

  • PM 2.5 is an atmospheric particulate matter of diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres, which is around 3 per cent the diameter of a human hair.
  • It causes respiratory problems and reduces visibility. PM 2.5 particles can only be detected with the help of an electron microscope because they are so small.

What are its health implications?

  • As per studies, it could lead to premature death from heart and lung disease.
  • Due to their smaller size, the PM 2.5 particles can easily bypass the nose and throat and can easily enter the circulatory system. The particles can also lead to cause chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
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