Exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) has severe health implications.
Nitrogen dioxide is a dangerous pollutant that is released when coal-based fuel is burnt in motor vehicles, power generation and industrial processes. A report by Greenpeace India, a non-government organisation (NGO), has analysed NO₂ concentrations in eight of India's most populous cities. This report claims that between April 2020 and April 2021, nitrogen dioxide pollution has increased in Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
Reliance on fossil fuels proving detrimental
Mumbai has witnessed a 52 per cent increase in NO₂ pollution, while Jaipur has registered a 47 per cent increase and Lucknow has noted a 32 per cent increase in April 2021, since last year. Reliance on fossil fuels is the major reason for the deterioration in the air quality of these capital cities of India.
The report states that- "Satellite observations reveal NO₂ pollution increased to 125 per cent of April 2020 levels. The analysis suggests the increase would have been even greater (146 per cent) had weather conditions been similar to 2020." Exposure to such high levels of nitrogen dioxide has severe health implications, especially related to the respiratory and circulatory systems.
Suggesting changes to mitigate the current situation, the Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace India was quoted saying- "Motor vehicles and industries based on fossil fuel consumption are the major drivers of NO₂ pollution in Indian cities. The governments, local administration and city planners must initiate the transition from privately owned vehicles to an efficient, clean and safe public transport system that is run on clean energy that of course, must provide Covid-19-related safety measures."
-With inputs from IANS