In the News

October 19, 2020

Not Just a Committee – We Need the Whole Govt To Address Stubble-Burning

Jyoti Pande Lavakare of Care For Air writes about EPIC's Air Quality Life Index in The Wire Science.
Jyoti Pande Lavakare

So this is what has come to – a complete breakdown in governance in the world’s largest democracy in the context of managing air pollution and its health harms. With no accountability, no political party and no government – right up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi – taking ownership of the problem, a population larger than that of the entire continent of north America now depends on meteorology, and a single-judge committee appointed by the Supreme Court on October 16 – to save it from disease, disability and death triggered by toxic air. Add to this the intimate connections between air pollution and COVID-19, and we’re all staring at a public health disaster.

This is not an overstatement. Consider the evidence.

Every autumn, almost like clockwork and with increasing intensity, stubble-burning kicks off North India’s pollution season. These fires are so large that they can be seen from Earth orbit. This year, NASA satellite data began showing fires and small spikes in PM2.5 concentrations in the first days of October itself. The worst is still yet to come.

A University of Chicago tool released last October indicated that the average person living in the IGP region – overlying Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – can expect to lose about seven years of their expected lifetime because of this airpocalypse.

Continue Reading at The Wire Science…