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Significant increase of air pollution levels calls for cleaner modes of private and public transport in India

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Air pollution is basically the presence of contaminants and pollutants in the atmosphere beyond permissible limits which can cause harm to individuals. These suspended particles of matter can be produced naturally or due to man made activities. Progressive development in India has allowed for people to purchase vehicles in order to stay abreast with their fast paced lives. Increasing numbers of cars on the country’s roads have resulted in erratic traffic conditions as also rise in air pollution levels.

Motor vehicle exhaust impurities like carbon monoxide cause a number of health problems in humans all over the world. Diesel fuel combustion is the cause of most of these impurities. Particulate impurities are also released from factories and manufacturing houses causing an increase in the pollutants and thereby increasing air pollution in the country.

Though diesel vehicles are cost effective considering current economy woes, people nee to take time off to consider future repercussions that may harm their lives. Studies have shown that combustion of diesel fuels is more harmful than petrol. This is so as diesel combustion gives rise to ultrafine particulate matter which if they enter a person’s body can cause a variety of problems related to the pulmonary and cardiac tract of the body. Those suffering from heart disease should avoid frequenting places where there is a high amount of smoke or pollution. Surveys and studies have shown that inhalation of diesel fumes can cause a number of problems for pregnant mothers. Problems range from sluggishness to fatigue and alterations in brain metabolism and neurotransmitters.

Short term problems associated with inhalation of diesel fumes are usually characterized by itchy eyes, constricting of the chest as also difficulty in breathing. It should be noted that in India almost one out of every ten child suffers from respiratory problems like asthma and breathlessness. In order to make sure these children are not subjected to harmful pollutants, cleaner modes of fuel should be implemented by one and all. Surveys have shown that about 40000 Indians are dying early every single year due to air pollution and resultant health problems.

Surveys by representative from the Centre for Science and Environment have shown that using heavy-duty natural gas engines in place of petrol and diesel engines can lower the amount of pollution considerably. Public transport in the capital city was revamped in 2001, wherein all the buses were converted to CNG within a span of 20 months. Delhi government in India has put in place a number of provisions which are designed to help public transport providers willing to switch to cleaner fuels. Benefits include sponsorship by the government for installation of CNG kits. To cater to the growing need of CNG, GAIL was ordered to expedite and expand from their 9 outlets to 90 outlets. Air pollution is rising each and every day, and steps need to be taken to implement cleaner fuels across cities in India. To make this possible, one can start by phasing out outdated diesel and petrol autos, and vehicles steadily to make way for CNG fueled public transport facilities.