Air Pollution in South Asia

Air Pollution in South Asia

#GS-03 Pollution

For Mains

Air Pollution in South Asia:

  • Over 60% of South Asians are exposed to an average 35 g/m3 of 5 annually.
  • This figure increases to as much as 100 g/m3 over some parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP).

The need for international cooperation to combat air pollution:

  • India has six large airsheds between which air pollutants move, some of them shared with Pakistan.
  • This means that measures by the government to reduce particulate matter can be effective only if the territories spanning the airsheds implement coordinated policies.
  • During days with winds from northwest to the southeast; 30% of the air pollution in Indian Punjab came from the Punjab Province in Pakistan.
  • In similar circumstances 30% of the air pollution in the largest cities of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong, and Khulna) originates in India.
  • Hence it is evident that even if even if Delhi were to fully implement all air pollution control measures by 2030, it wouldn’t be enough to keep pollution exposure below 35 g/m3.

The Airsheds in South Asia:

The six major airsheds in South Asia where air quality in one affected the other are:

  1. West/Central IGP: Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab (India), Haryana, part of Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh;
  2. Central/Eastern IGP: Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bangladesh;
  3. Middle India: Odisha/Chhattisgarh;
  4. Middle India: Eastern Gujarat/Western Maharashtra;
  5. Northern/Central Indus River Plain: Pakistan, part of Afghanistan; and
  6. Southern Indus Plain and further west: South Pakistan, Western Afghanistan extending into Eastern Iran