Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today expressed concern over the rising pollution levels in several parts of the country and urged Scientists and researchers to explore innovative, out-of-box and ingenious solutions to arrest this menace of pollution.
He also called upon them to work with the government initiatives such as the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which is a time-bound national-level strategy to tackle rising air pollution by ensuring a 20-30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024.
Addressing the ‘International Conference on Ions’ at CSIR– National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur today, he expressed concern over the rising pollution levels, especially in and around the National Capital.
Observing that a healthy and clean environment was an essential requirement to ensure sustainable development of all beings, Vice President Naidu said that Environment degradation would have a direct impact on the development of the nation.
Referring to the World Economic Forum findings, he said that the cost of environmental degradation in India was estimated to be INR 3.75 trillion ($80 billion) a year.
Opining that the “poor” or “severe” Air Quality in most of the Indian cities was alarming, he said that Air Quality in fell in the category of “Hazardous” with PM 10 and PM 2.5 particle measurement indices soaring high.
Quoting from the finding of the Centre for Science and Environment’s State of India’s Environment (SoE) Report, 2019, he said that air pollution was responsible for 12.5 per cent of all deaths in India
Stating that environmental pollution and deterioration in the Air Quality was among the foremost challenges faced by the country today, Vice President Naidu stressed that one could think about building a safe, secure, healthy and prosperous future when our cities, the engines of the growth were choking in noxious fumes and when our water and our soil were polluted.
Stressing those immediate measures must be taken to reduce emissions, the Vice President called for promoting clean and renewable sources of energy. He also suggested regular cleaning, preservation, and maintenance of water bodies that have been becoming toxic with increased urbanization and other related factors.
Observing that a number of studies have linked cancer to several environmental factors including pollution and radiation, the Vice President said that the second-most common cause of death in India after cardiovascular disease must receive attention from both doctors and policymakers.
He stressed the need to constantly innovate and create new, less invasive treatment protocols for cancer that were affordable and accessible to common people, especially those who live away from the urban glare.
“Human health and wellbeing are fundamental to the progress of any nation. We must ensure that every citizen has a good quality of life and access to opportunities for growth and prosperity,” he said.
Observing that understanding of environmental and health hazards associated with any socio-economic development must be mandatory, the Vice President wanted Indian scientists and technocrats to reorient their research towards identifying the cause and mitigation measures.