Govt trashes study that said Indians lose 6 years of life due to pollution

The Environment Ministry as well as the Ministry of Earth Sciences have rejected the claims made in the report over the loss of years in every Indian's life in due to pollution

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Mr Prakash Javadekar interacting with the media persons, in New Delhi on June 08, 2016.

New Delhi: The Indian Government has rejected the study on pollution published in the Geophysical Research Letters Journal of the American Geophysical Union. The study that was prominently covered in top mainstream newspapers, had revealed that the Indians lose six years of their lives because of pollution.

“We reject the claims made in the so-called research article that Indians lose six years of their lives because of pollution. The Ministry of Earth Sciences does not agree with the study and has completely rejected the study,” said the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Mr Prakash Javadekar while talking to the media persons at News Delhi.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences has also made it clear that it does not subscribe to any of the conclusions emerging out of the reported study.

The study is based on regional atmospheric chemistry model and statistical algorithm to construct estimates and this is based on studies in Europe and America, which have been extrapolated on India. This study has not been done on sampling, it has not been done on ground studying and it is not based on long-term observations, said Mr Javadekar.

He further said that the Government is serious about tackling pollution. India recognises pollution as a major problem and we are tackling it very seriously. But there are other pollutants also that are harmful to health. Ozone is a pollutant that has an adverse impact on life and which is predominantly present in California. NOx is another pollutant, which is present much more in Mexico, UAE and China, than in India. SOx is also another pollutant that is serious. Every pollutant adversely affects health. So, on different pollutants, countries have different experiences and different status. But we recognize that in India, because of the neglect over the last ten years, the pollution problem has become serious, particularly in cities. This arises out of four reasons – vehicular pollution, industrial pollution, biomass burning and improper waste disposal and dust.

The Government says it has been tackling all these issues on a priority basis. It has pre-poned migration to Bharat VI norms for fuel and vehicles, both petrol and diesel. It is also investing Rs 60, 000 crore for improving the quality of fuel. Vehicles will be Bharat VI compliant norms. The notification has already been issued. This will reduce vehicular pollution by 90% by 2020 – in one thousand days from now. So, this is a very important initiative as per the minister.

On the focus on tackling dust, Mr Javadekar said, “Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules have been formulated for the first time. Within the next six months, it will be implemented in all the major cities and will be implemented throughout the country in one year’s time. We are building capacities and we will not allow the debris to be thrown anywhere and all dust-related activities will have to be undertaken with a cover along with full mitigation measures. So, there will be no dust pollution. All other Waste Management Rules have been revamped.”

He added, “As a result of the efforts, Punjab could reduce biomass burning by 40 percent and Haryana by 20 percent. We will take it further in the next two years.”

On the efforts to control pollution, the minister said, “As for checking industrial pollution, we have made emission norms more stringent for all industries. It will reduce the pollution load on all industries. We are monitoring it on a 24×7 basis through a transparent technology. Therefore, we are tackling pollution-related issues very effectively, which had not been addressed for the last 10 years.”

“For Delhi also, we are taking the cooperation of five states and we are putting up bypasses,” he said in conclusion.