India Must Take Action To Address Air Pollution

Project Syndicate: India’s Deadly Air
Shashi Tharoor, MP for the Indian National Congress and chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs

“…The consequences [of air pollution in India] are alarming. Poor air quality is now costing India at least one percent of GDP every year in respiratory diseases, reduced productivity, and increased hospitalization, and may be reducing Indians’ lifespans by three years. … India needs to make improving air quality a national priority. It needs to create state and national action plans for clean air; set tough new targets for thermal power plant emissions, factory chimneys, and automobile exhausts; and establish a proper air pollution monitoring system. … In the face of this national catastrophe, the government’s complacency is appalling, but not surprising. Public discussion of India’s deteriorating air quality and its effects on human health — and thus awareness of the problem — is startlingly limited. India’s politicians need to design an action plan that generates a groundswell of public pressure on the government to confront the issue head-on. The Indian public … should be demanding … the ability to breathe…” (11/13).