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Pollution comes with hidden costs

Pollution comes with hidden costs, what we often see is just what is affecting us at large. In the light of the above statement, Discuss the various costs of air pollution other than health costs.Approx. Words –270 (Intro – 45, Body – 160, Conclusion – 65)

  • WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, contributing to about 9% of global annual deaths. While Health Costs form the tip of the Iceberg, the other costs associated with Air pollution which often go unattended are

Environmental Cost

  • Climate Change – According to IPCC global temperature has increased by 1.2 degree Celsius in last century, leading to erratic weather pattern.
  • Ocean Acidification – Increased concentration of Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous Oxides at air water interface, invariably lowering pH value of water.
  • Biodiversity Loss – Global warming, Ocean acidification, acid rain all combined together threaten the existence of species.

 Economic Cost

  • Industrial Output – In Toxic environment the productivity of workers is adversely affected leading to reduced Industrial Output.
  • Coastal Economy – Rising sea levels hampers development of coastal region, land inundation, disasters and transport disruption thus bringing coastal economy to a standstill.
  • Agriculture – Pollutants deposition, acid rain combined with increased temperature and variable rainfall causes poor productivity and nutritional degradation of agri products, thus also hampering the food security of the nation.

Social Costs

  • Air Pollution increases frequency of disasters by altering global climate, these disasters disproportionately impact vulnerable social groups like women, differentially abled etc resulting into huge social costs.

Cultural Costs

  • historical Monuments are being burnt because of increased pollution levels. Example Taj Mahal discolouration

Thus, unattended air pollution is an alarming issue requiring immediate intervention at various levels such as

  • Individual/Societal Level – Behavioural changes like using public transport, energy saving commitments, energy saving architecture, waste management all these can go a long way in managing pollution and air pollution at large.
  • National Level – Use of smog towers, desulphurisation units etc. can reduce toxics from gases, painting roads with TiO2 to decrease pollutants and Implementation of India Cooling Action plan.
  • International Level – Implementation of Paris Climate deal.

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