02 August, 2021

How To Not Waste A Crisis

Pollution mitigation is a matter of necessity and not choice. How to sustain the air quality gains post-Covid pandemic is a big challenge.

Photograph by PTI
How To Not Waste A Crisis

This unprecedented public health emergency and economic disruption due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic have given us a new prism to understand the air pollution ­challenge and its solutions. With vehicles off the road, ­factories closed and construction activities halted, we have collectively observed the quick healing and rapid reduction in pollution. We have understood the scale of change that is needed to make the skies blue, and the air and lungs clean.

While air quality has improved by default, the systems needed to sustain the air quality gains are under severe economic stress. This has made linking of post-pandemic recovery with pollution mitigation a matter of necessity and not choice. Yet, there is not enough conversation on green recovery. With the economy reopening, the ­‘retaliatory emissions’ are bound to increase as is already evident. This casts shadow on the viability of meeting the National Clean Air Programme (NACP) target of ­reducing particulate pollution by 20-30 per cent by 2024 or meet the tougher target of national...

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