China has declared war on air pollution. India needs to resume a long-detailed discussion on air quality.
- China has acknowledged that environmental problems have hit crisis levels, and its growth model would have to be adjusted to account for the alarming degradation of air and water quality.
- India could also do with a renewed focus on air pollution but official response is one of denial questioning the methodology of various studies.
- Yale Environmental Performance Index ranked India a dismal 174 (out of 178) on air quality, the official response was, predictably, to question its methodology
- India’s own Central Pollution Control Board in 2011 found that nearly all cities were in violation of national standards for respirable particulate matter.
- Health costs of such pollution is huge with one even suggesting that air pollution is the fifth-largest killer in India and another estimating a loss of 3.3 years from life expectancy at birth.
- Paralysing confrontation has been set up between environmental concerns and growth, a false choice that has hurt both growth prospects and the vital project to protect the environment.
- The environment debate needs to explore the opportunities that are created when industry is greened and growing incomes open up spaces for the adoption of more eco-friendly policies.