Will the new air quality index stop India from choking?

Cities with the worst air pollution

  1. Delhi, India

  2. Patna, India

  3. Gwalior, India

  4. Raipur, India

  5. Karachi, Pakistan

  6. Peshwar, Pakistan

  7. Rawalpindi, Pakistan

  8. Khoramabad, Iran

  9. Ahmedabad, India

  10. Lucknow, India

Source: World Health Organisation

This Week the Indian government launched an air quality index, a first of its kind for the country. This comes after a growing concern for the amount of air pollution India is currently struggling with.

Air pollutants contribute directly to global warming. Fossil Fuel burning is a major cause of both air pollution and climate change. When we tackle one, we are also helping to tackle the other. Outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012 and those numbers will continue to increase unless real action is taken.

New Delhi has been declared the world's most polluted capital city by the World Health Organisation. The index will cover 10 cities including New Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow and Varanasi. There is hope the index will cover all 66 of India's cities.

While this is an excellent first step, it must be met with real action and follow through. The air quality index will help people take precautions on days when the air quality is particularly poor. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekahas shared little on the what the government plans to do with the information the index provides.

On the bright side, the Indian government is all set to update its environment policies. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said to help save the environment India must look to the way their grandmothers lived, including Sunday bicycle days and recycling old clothing.

India traditionally has a long history of worshipping nature. "We have believed, since the time of the Gita and the Mahabharat, that God lives in plants and that's why we worship and protect plants as taught to us traditionally," Modi said.

He also stated that India must be a leader in saving the world from climate change, a statement with which we definitely agree.

Find out more about air pollution in this blog: Everyone's talking about this video on China's crazy air pollution

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