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Poor air quality is a major health risk. Solutions include focus on sustainable modes of transportation, transitioning to non-polluting vehicles and fuels and better enforcement…

Air pollution poses a severe global health risk, with India at the forefront, hosting 39 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities. The World Air Quality Report 2022 ranks India as the eighth most polluted country, with PM2.5 levels averaging 53.3 micrograms per cubic meter, exceeding WHO’s recommended levels. Delhi, India’s capital, is one of the ten most polluted cities in the world. Gurgaon, being a Delhi suburb is not too far behind.

Gurgaon’s rapid urbanization leads to continuous and episodic air pollution from various sources, including vehicles, industry, construction, waste burning, unpaved roads, and dust. Major pollutants include particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2). Dust, vehicular emissions, industrial activities, stubble burning, and construction sites are chief contributors to air pollution. The reduction the Aravalli ranges has increased dust and fine particles in the air.

Previously acute for a few months, pollution in Gurgaon has become a year-round crisis, persistently falling short of prescribed standards. Road crossings, commercial districts, and highways are pollution epicentres with worsening conditions during winter due to temperature inversions, slow winds, and smog episodes exacerbated by Diwali firecrackers and stubble burning. The extensive use of diesel, particularly in SUVs, cars, and generators, further compounds the issue.

Mounting air pollution poses significant health risks, impacting organs and leading to respiratory issues, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes, particularly affecting vulnerable groups like the elderly, children, and economically disadvantaged individuals. The National Clean Air Program (NCAP) and Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) aim to reduce pollution levels, but more proactive measures are required.

To combat vehicular pollution, Gurgaon needs sustainable transportation strategies. Transitioning to Bharat Stage VI (BSVI) emissions standards, cleaner fuels, and implementing an on-road emissions management system are crucial. Phasing out diesel vehicles for CNG or electric alternatives, utilizing solar rooftops, and enhancing public transportation, cycling, and walking infrastructure are essential steps. Addressing open dumping, waste burning, and landfill management is imperative, along with providing clean electricity and complete LPG coverage to eliminate solid fuels for cooking.

Gurgaon has initiated various solutions, including expanding air quality monitoring stations, implementing pollution control measures at hotspots, and promoting cycling and walking through safer street designs. City-level bus services and electric mobility programs are underway, supported by initiatives like “SCOUT,” a WhatsApp Chatbot for air pollution complaints.

In conclusion, tackling air pollution in Gurgaon demands a dynamic and urgent collaborative approach involving all stakeholders – the government, policy makers, media and the public – with clear short, medium, and long-term goals.


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