Air Pollutions Plague
India's battle with household and outdoor air pollution
Air pollution and its associated impacts on severe health issues in India regularly grab headlines across the world every year. It is a serious cause for concern for India's future development and public health. Coupled with its links to climate change, figuring out how to deal with this toxic air will be a defining challenge of the 21st century.
Much attention has focused on outdoor air pollution placing the blame on the usual suspects like industry and transport. However, seemingly little attention has been paid to the tragic issue of indoor air pollution - mainly from open cooking fires. When it comes to indoor air pollution, women and children remain the worst affected.
Much of the time, those suffering from indoor air pollution are those families who are unable to access or afford cleaner fuels. It is also the same demographic that adheres to traditional cultural norms that say women are responsible for household duties like cooking over open fires.
Air pollution has links to chronic short-term and acute long-term medical conditions - resulting in over 7 million deaths annually worldwide. In India alone, 756 to 815 million people are still reliant on organic fuels and coal for cooking and heating. At no fault of their own, this practice contributes huge amounts of air pollution that blows across India.
However, despite these figures, India's air pollution is improving as the nation grows richer. Nevertheless, the sheer number of people suffering from air pollutions impacts are a cause for concern.