A new contender has beaten China for the worst air pollution; India is now home to the 10 most polluted cities in the world.
According to the Economic Times, the problem lies in India’s struggle to pull together a national plan of action like China did back in 2016.
Back in 2014, the Chinese government committed to reducing the toxic air that covered their skies. And although the Indian government has set a few policies, there are distinct challenges that prevent plans to unfold. Other social issues such as high unemployment and poverty are a larger priority, making it difficult to focus on the issue of pollution.
Citizens are angry by the lack of response to the public health issue that air pollution is causing. Kusum Tomar, a 29-year-old citizen living just outside New Delhi, suffers from a cancer that is likely exacerbated by pollution, according to Bloomberg.
“The government is thinking about the economic growth of the country, but people are dying of diseases or suffering from diseases,” Tomar states. “How can you grow economically when, within your country, your citizens are facing economic problems because of the air pollution?”
But it is not only citizens that are feeling the effects. Businesses have expressed concern that there may be a lack of talent in the coming years, as a result of people moving out of the country. Krishna Hegde, a former banker, was unable to handle the stress that pollution caused him when going to work near Delhi. “By the end of the first day my energy levels would be coming down, and by the end of the second day I’d have a proper headache,” Hegde said to Bloomberg.
Through the promotion of solar power, improving emission standards, and finding ways to reduce fires, the current government has taken steps towards improving pollution, but they still have a long way to go to reduce the impact of current pollution levels.
Feature via Instagram / @indias_air_pollution_crisis