Special lecture on Air Pollution

Dr Pramila Goyal, Distinguished Professor Emeritus delivered a lecture on ‘Status of Air Pollution in India’ on 19 May 2016. Air pollution is defined as the presence one or more contaminants in the outdoor and/ or indoor atmosphere. It can be a combination of such particles in such quantities and of such duration which may tend to be injurious to humans, plants or animals, or even non-living property. Sources of air pollution can be natural or anthropogenic. As per 2008-13 study by WHO for PM2.5 data, out of world top 100 polluted cities, 31 are in India. Delhi, one of the most polluted cities of the world, is facing the impact of increasing number of premature deaths due to air pollution related diseases. A major cause of this is high rate of urbanization and increasing number of vehicles on roads.

Dr Goyal also discussed a few serious events related to air pollution in India, like Bhopal Gas tragedy of 1984 due to the leakage of poisonous gas Methyl Iso Cyanide; study of air pollution during the night of Deepawali in 2015, which revealed that concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 exceed the prescribed limits (NAAQS) by 5-6 times at all locations in Delhi; study of air pollution during the government’s implemented scheme of ‘odd-even’ in Delhi for 15 days in January 2016, which revealed that the air pollution in city is not affected only by the emissions from various sources, but also by the prevailing meteorological conditions. Emphasis should be laid on reducing emissions at source itself by going for alternative fuels and technology.