Bring the Change - Reduce Air Pollution | Social Issues

Goutham Veerabathini -Author 

It is the tendency of people to think that one person, as an individual can do nothing to mitigate humongous problems like air pollution. I say that it is a misconception and everyone can put in some effort towards the cause! As they say, every drop counts! Here is a glimpse of everything you need to know about Air Pollution- causes, actions to be taken to mitigate and the solutions. 

What Causes Air Pollution?

  • Industries

Manufacturing industries including the construction industry release lots of harmful gases and small particles into the atmosphere through huge chimneys. This forms a large cloud of smoke that travels for long distances and takes the chemicals to far off places. 

Industry emitting into the air. Chimney

Also, to establish an industry, most of the time, forests are cut down and this leads to deforestation and it eventually leads to Air Pollution as there are no roots to bind the soil together.

  • Transportation sector

There are two prime factors that contribute towards pollution from this sector -
A Jeep causing dust to rise into the air.

 1. The dust from the roads which have finer particles that are suspended in air due to the vehicular movement; and 2. The smoke was emitted from the vehicles.

  • Electricity

Around the world, around 35 to 40 % of the electricity generated is from Thermal Power Plants (that is coal-based power plants). And in countries like India, it is more than 60 %. 

Thermal Power plant emitting fumes

These thermal power plants release huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. And thus cater towards Air Pollution.

  • Cultural practices

Few cultural practices, rituals and traditions also pollute the air. For example, if we take a multi-diverse country like India, there is Diwali (Bursting of Crackers), Bhogi (celebrated in the Southern Part of India - burning old unwanted material, at the time of harvest, in the second week of January.), Lohri (celebrated in the state of Punjab - of burning logs), Holi (a replica of Holika is made and burnt) and many more such festivals & practices.

Old items being burned. Tree logs being burnt.

Impact by People and Policy makers hand-in-hand

  • Technology - Home appliances

In today's world, almost every home has refrigerators and all the corporate offices have Air Conditioners. All of these contribute to the release of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) These CFCs are not naturally occurred substances and deteriorate the atmosphere even more. Also, you have seen how much, the generation of electricity pollutes the air. So, use electricity as a resource of value and think twice before you turn that switch on and do not forget to switch off as soon as the need is satisfied.

  • Each one Plant One

Even a hundred-kilometre race begins with one step and this step towards our better future can start with one person. Every person living on this planet Earth must plant at least one tree/sapling on their birthday and ensure that their surroundings are always clean and green. All the existing empty lands should be filled with a fertile layer of soil and kept moist.

Each one Plant One. People planting trees as a community

If possible, plant trees in these open spaces and place pebbles around them. This practice will ensure that the small dust particles are not blown by the wind or by any other forces.

  • Tree Plantation Drives

By increasing the forest cover through tree-plantation drives we can suck out the excess carbon dioxide and reduce the pollution. Countries like India celebrate 'Vanamahotsav' to increase tree cover. COVID19 has taught us how important Oxygen is for our life is. At least let us now realize the importance and take such initiatives on a larger scale.

  • Technology in Aid 

To clean the roads, instead of road sweeping, vacuum cleaners can be used. Open grounds should be kept moist by sprinkling water to reduce the dust particles.  Innovative Startups like Graviky Labs (They make ink from carbon emissions), which work towards reducing air pollution should be encouraged by the Governments.
Wanna buy the ink made from pollution? - Contact us

  • Creating Alternative Infrastructure

The government should install a robust system where the quality of air is being shown at the main junctions and places (this is being already done in most of the cities where the pollution levels are high and it is also to be appreciated that they also show the Sound pollution being generated at that particular junction). Measures that need to be taken to reduce air pollution should also be put up near the same junctions. This brings awareness to everyone.

I feel that as electric vehicles are being manufactured with high technology, the government to the maximum possible extent should limit the manufacturing of diesel or petrol or vehicles run using non-renewable sources of fuel through sanctions and encourage only the manufacturing of electric vehicles through incentives.

If these measures are not totally possible on a large scale, at least can be taken in the case of public transport. The government should maximize the use of renewable sources of energy in all public buildings and amenities to the extent possible and promote the use of such renewable sources of energy.

What Are The Policy Changes That Can Be Taken Up By The Government?
What Can We Do As Individuals?

I am of the opinion that the government should come up with stringent policy changes that will help curb air pollution.

The policies should cover the implementation of the usage only of e-vehicles / renewable sources of energy for the public transport system, instituting a national air quality programme to be spread across all the cities and villages in the country, preparation & enforcement of strict environment laws with regard to industries, and a special statutory board to address the issues pertaining to air pollution (National Green Tribunal, under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is looking at all the environment-related issues) It would be better if a separate bench is made to look into the issues pertaining to Air Pollution.

Policies can also extend to make sure that any vehicle past its time should be recycled, and make sure that the next vehicle the person buys should be a vehicle that uses a renewable source of energy.

House plans should be approved only after factoring in how ‘green’ they will be, both in construction as well as operation.

The government should formulate yearly plans to monitor and reduce air pollution.

It is very crucial to practice the infamous ‘4 R formula’, which stands for, ‘Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.’ Each one of us should in the worst case use at least one machine which consumes power from a renewable source, for example, a solar water heater. We should be very sure to turn off all the electric appliances when not using them. As discussed above, everyone should take up the initiative to make our surroundings more greener by planting more trees. Make it a habit to not burn anything, instead try to recycle/up-cycle. To know more about up-cycling, contact Happy Surprise Instagram Page

For Diwali or any occasion, we should stop burning crackers, or at least go with those crackers that are less harmful in nature. We should think of every possible solution and try our best to identify and use renewable energy products, as it is cost-efficient and reduces energy consumption most of the time, in the long run.

I have a strong feeling that it is in our hands to make some effort and do our best to improve the air quality in our localities, in addition to the support provided by our governments. Our life is very precious and needs to be maintained healthily. We are already suffering from various unknown diseases that do not have any treatment or cure. Between this, why should we bring in new diseases? or why bring in situations where we suffer for the basic necessities such as AIR, as seen in the case of COVID19. Prevention is better than cure.

So people, come on! The high time to curb air pollution has come. Let us take a step forward and save our lives. If you feel like you can add more points to it, comment below. 

Fact File: 


This article was earlier published on YouthkiAwaaz and the Author owns the full credit for the article published here. 


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