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    Collective Call

    The air quality has been degrading not only in Delhi but also in other cities of the country. It has become a major global challenge.

    Slowly and steadily, air pollution is turning into a major health problem in Northeastern states too. Experts expressed concern over the increasing trend of particulate matter (PM10) in five cities in Assam which includes Guwahati, Nalbari, Nagaon, Silchar, and Sivasagar.

    The deaths due to Air Respiratory Infection are on the rise. As per the National Health Profile (NHP) released by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) in 2018, a total of 225 deaths were reported in Assam due to ARI in 2017 which was followed by Mizoram with 36 deaths. On the other hand, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh recorded 23, 21, 9, 8, 7 and 3 deaths respectively. The report also highlighted that Meghalaya had the highest number of ARI cases in the Northeast.

    According to the World Air Quality Index (WAQI) report, the air quality in one city has been identified as hazardous while in 38 cities as unhealthy, in 30 cities as unhealthy for sensitive groups, in 36 as moderate and in 4 cities as good. The PM2.5 (particulate matter) in Guwahati is 166, according to the report.

    Unhealthy air may affect sensitive groups mostly. Children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.

    Air pollution is a complex issue, requiring an array of solutions. There are many sources that contribute to pollution across the country. Depending on the region and climatic conditions, the contribution of particular sources will also differ. However, what is very clear is that irrespective of where you live, burning of fossil fuels contributes majorly to air pollution levels across regions.

    Opposition leaders have raised the issue of degrading air quality across the nation including the national capital demanding implementation of a new act in India. But, that is not enough to improve the air quality. Opposition parties should take a bold move in the matter.

    The government needs to address the matter seriously so that people can breathe the fresh air to survive. Sustainable development without harming nature, wildlife and human lives is the key to bring everything under control. Afforestation is the call of the hour since rapid growth in industrialization and urbanization is the root cause of pollution.

    Photo credit: Down To Earth

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