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Vehicle pollution and fumes in India leading to chronic diseases

The environmental problems in India are growing rapidly. As the country grows economically, there is rapid deterioration of quality of air that we breathe. Growing population is one of the primary reasons for this chronic problem that we are facing. India is a country that has grown from 300 million people in 1947 to over 1 billion strong today. India ranks seventh in the most environmentally hazardous country in the world. Brazil is the worst on environmental indicators while Singapore is the best followed by the US and China. India needs to take up air pollution on a war footing. Rising incidents of chronic diseases is a major concern. Rising vehicular population and rising industrialization are the two major factors contributing to this pathetic air quality situation in the country.

Diseases such as asthma, cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, lung infections, cancer are some of the health hazards that Indians have to face on a daily basis. WHO has estimated that over 2 million people die prematurely each year due to adverse effects of air pollution. Fine particles of dust from wood and coal fires, unfiltered diesel engines, air pollution from industries, household heating and ageing coal and oil fired power stations are some of the factors contributing to the poor quality of the air that we breathe. Though the Government is actively propagating use of CNG but that too is not without its own environmental drawbacks. CNG burning has highest rates of carbonyl emissions. Cars with retrofitted CNG engines emit 30% more methane than original CNG engines. In India, almost all CNG car engines are retrofitted.

Rising pollution levels are seen not only in commercial and industrial areas but even in residential areas. These rising levels indicate that government agencies have failed to fulfill their role. Two and four wheeler population is rising by leaps and bounds. There is not check on vehicular emission and no stringent action is taken against erring diesel and petrol vehicles spewing smoke. All these pollutants are having an adverse effect on human health, physical wellbeing and psychology with no signs of remedy or improvement in the near future.

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