The pollution crisis has been consistent in India for many ages. While many countries have faced the challenges of pollution, no other country is battling the scale and austerity of the pollution that covers India.
Air pollution has been on the rise in New Delhi and its surrounding areas. This pollution poses grave and multi-faceted risks to India’s prospects of achieving its sustainable development goals. The health expenditure also increases rapidly with the rise in pollution.
Current Challenges of the Pollution Crisis
- Climate Change
No one is far from the harsh reality of the climatic changes taking place these years. Global warming is said to be one of its major contributors. According to the UN, global warming has increased by almost 50% and the global fossil CO2 emissions have risen 62% over the last three decades.
This increased global warming is thus accelerating climate change, which poses a grave threat to all humans and biodiversity. We have already seen the consequences like the California wildfires, droughts, floods, etc. which are increasingly frequent and more extreme.
- Air Pollution
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 90% of humans breathe polluted air worldwide. The alarmingly high air pollution level in India has tremendously increased respiratory illnesses and deaths in the country. India currently ranks fifth in the list of world’s most polluted countries, with an average PM 2.5 concentration of 50.08. Moreover, 21 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are located in India. Many cities and industrial areas in Uttar Pradesh such as Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Noida etc. are severely affected by very poor air quality index currently, at levels which can cause respiratory illnesses after prolonged exposure. Guwahati, Muzaffarpur, Delhi, Meerut, Siliguri, Kanpur and Lucknow are other areas badly affected by poor air quality.
Loss of energy and renewable resources
We all know how energy constraints have been consistent in our country. More than 230 people lack access to electricity in India. Additionally, more than 2 billion people depend on fossil fuels for cooking even today. The country today accounts for an energy transition towards a more accessible and efficient use of renewable energy which is resistant to climate change.
Effects on Biodiversity
We have already lost a large number of animal species, and many are on the verge of getting extinct. It is mainly due to the destruction of their natural habitats and urbanization. Poaching remains a crucial issue to deal with in India. It is necessary to conserve our natural heritage and forests to save our biodiversity.
Eutrophication is another reason for the loss of biodiversity. It is the process of accumulation of nutrients like nitrogen in the water bodies because of air pollution. This nutrient overload causes blooming algae, which leads to the loss of oxygen, and thus the aquatic life is disturbed. Thus, air pollution is a significant driving force behind changing natural environments for many species.
How to curb pollution of resources?
With the rise in population each day, there’s no doubt that India sooner or later needs to strategize things to preserve its natural resources. People in India need to find alternative and sustainable options to run their industries and organizations to prevent the menace of pollution.
India is one of the largest emitters of Carbon dioxide, and has been a part of the Paris Agreement. With many steps already taken towards sustainable solutions to prevent climate change by India, we still have a long way to go. India has set a forest cover goal and has also promised to reduce the emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product and to achieve 40 percent of its power capacity from renewable energy by 2030.
Solar Energy can be the Future of India
In India, a major chunk of resources has already been depleted due to issues like overpopulation. Many Indian households lack electricity as an outcome. With the pace at which the non-renewable resources are being depleted, the day of their replenishment isn’t far. The adaptation of solar energy can be a significant relief to some critical resources.
Solar energy can be a help to a great extent in such cases. India has ample sunlight throughout the year. We can use solar energy for electricity production and reduce the exploitation of resources. In fact, it is a cheaper alternative to electricity grids. The Government of India supports solar panel installations and also provides financial aid to the people who undertake the initiative. As a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative, you can create your own energy using solar panels.
The world has been adopting renewable power at a rapid rate. India is also emerging in the arena by generating more renewable energy. In fact, India is among the largest solar power generating countries in the world.
Ideas from NCR Regulations
No matter how much India tries to curb its pollution, the pollution on the domestic level is the hardest to be controlled. NCR pollution is becoming the hardest to be controlled by the government. The major causes of pollution in the NCR include, stubble burning, firecrackers, hefty traffic on roads and other winds.
Government has taken many initiatives to curb such consequences like the odd-even rule in Delhi set to reduce air pollution was one such innovative idea. Also, an alternative to stubble burning has been introduced for the farmers. It is an organic composting solution that comes in the form of capsules. It contains fungi which converts the stubble into manures. It is indeed an innovative step. Other than this, the Delhi government has also banned the use of diesel generators except for emergency services under their Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) plan as an anti-pollution measure.
How Switching to Solar Energy can Help
Solar energy is the most reliable and affordable source of renewable energy. Rooftop solar, in particular, provides incredible flexibility in terms of generation and usage of solar power by industrial, commercial and residential users. Especially in urban areas, where land is a premium commodity, rooftop solar presents an ideal win-win solution by converting empty rooftops into an environment friendly power source. Typically, the capacity of a rooftop solar plant is determined by the area of the roof and the capacity permitted by the power distribution companies. It is also important to consider the orientation of the roof while installing a rooftop solar plant. For sites located in the northern region, like India, south-facing rooftop solar systems receive more sunlight resulting in increased yield. A slanting, shadow-free rooftop is optimal for installing solar modules, and in the case of flat rooftops, specially designed module mounting structures are used to install the modules at an angle facing the south direction.
Today, solar power has emerged as one of the cheapest forms of energy and installing rooftop solar has never been more lucrative, both from a cost saving as well as environmental standpoint. Coupled with a net-metering system, where the solar plant has the capability to export excess power to the grid, a rooftop solar plant enables substantial saving in operating costs by way of reduced electricity bills. Apart from cost benefits, rooftop solar plants also help in reduction of green-house gas emissions and mitigating climate change. If located in a region with 250-300 sunny days, normally a 1 KW rooftop solar plant can save about 30 tonnes of carbon-di-oxide over the life time of 25 years, which is equivalent to planting around 50 trees. Owing to such obvious advantages, there has been tremendous focus by the Government of India on installation of rooftop solar plants. This is exemplified by the fact that 40% or 40 GW of India’s 100 GW solar capacity enhancement target is attributed to rooftop solar installations.
India has taken many stringent steps to curb the menace of pollution. However, none of the methods have provided satisfying results. With such a high population and over-consumption of resources, the pollution crisis in India is alarming. Air pollution is the first one to be curbed due to its direct inhalation and adverse effects on the health of the population. WHO estimates around 4.2 million deaths per year due to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Almost all cities of India exceed the WHO’s guideline limits of required air quality.
Solar roof tops are effective in reducing public health risks. The more we depend on solar energy, the lesser fossil fuels will be burnt. Burning of fossil fuels is the biggest cause of air pollution. It can be controlled by shifting to solar pumps and roof tops. Our dependency on fossil fuels has impacted the atmosphere. We breathe in air full of harmful substances. Solar roof tops emit no dangerous gases. As we’ll shift to solar generation, the level of smog and particulate matter will be drastically reduced. An increase in solar power production can improve urban air quality and provide clean, sustainable, and renewable sources of power to homes.