The presence of poisonous, contaminating substances in the environment around us creates havoc to the dwelling space and introduces harmful and non-biodegradable substances. These harmful chemical-laden toxic elements cause ‘pollution.’ Below, we have provided pollution crisis in urban areas essay, suitable for aspirants preparing for competitive exams.
Urbanisation and Pollution
Man and his ways have polluted the environment around us; it’s a phenomenon prevailing since many millions of years and has reached alarming levels today. The concern in the urban areas is more severe because the greenery belt in the metros cities is severely low, and pollution levels are very high. There is no control on pollution and no scientific checks that can solidly create a lasting impact to decrease pollution levels.
Urban areas have a higher density of vehicles, more emissions from factories and industries, a higher rate of food adulteration, etc. This has caused an overall rise in the average temperatures, created a way for global warming. Due to this, people are suffering from deadly diseases, like cancer and asthma, acid rains are becoming more common. Air, water, land pollution is fully contaminating the environment around us severely.
Burning of Farm Residues
Whenever we take a long drive towards the out suits of any city, we can find thick and thin piles of smoke swelling up from small or big farmlands. It could be paddy straws that are being burnt or any other agricultural leftovers. They cause major reasons for pollution. They can be detrimental to our health too. They have very high small micro-level particles that can choke our lungs and trouble the respiratory system. The concentration of these fine particles in the residue burning would be so high that the smoke can enter the nearby, immediate urban landscape and cause huge damage to the lungs.
Very high levels of toxic elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, etc., are found in this kind of smoke emitting residue burning. The levels of potassium and sulphur can act upon the neighbouring lands and destroy the top layers of the soil. Thus even fertile lands can become barren and unfit for cultivation. This issue could be circled under the group of soil pollution.
The Air Act of 1981 considers burning crops and farm residues an unacceptable and punishable act and can be tried under a judicial lens. But strict enforcement of laws by authorities at the grassroots level is almost absent, making it easy for farmers to continue with their unscientific acts. A simple remedy to this burning issue could be to find alternate rises of farm residues to avoid burning them.
Indian Transportation of Pollution
As chocolates are to children, so is motor pollution to vehicles plying on Indian roads, especially city and urban areas. The environment is degraded by pollutants emitted out from the fumes of exhausts fitted to vehicles. They have ill effects on plant life, animal life and destroy the delicate balance present in the ecosystem. The motor or vehicular pollutants include carbon monoxide, toxic nitrogen oxide, ammonia, high hydrogen, and sulphur dioxide levels. Economic liberation in urban areas has made people more outgoing in their choices of vehicles.
A small family of four now has all four members having four different vehicles to use. It is not about necessity; it is a question of luxury. So the amount of pollution previously caused by a family vehicle has proportionately increased to nearly four-fold. The term ‘car pollution’ is commonly used in urban areas for obvious reasons. The greenhouse emissions can cause a lot of destruction to our atmosphere.
Petrol and diesel, when burnt, release harmful by-products into the environment. The smoke released from cars contains a huge list of pollutants. Particulate matter can choke our lungs and lead to deadly diseases like cancer. The fuel that silently escapes fuel tanks in vehicles is very toxic. They can silently deplete the protective layers of the atmosphere and add to the greenhouse effect.
Better Management of Resources
The primary and most prominent form of pollution in urban areas that reduces the green belt and improves specific contamination is air pollution. We cannot just blame vehicles for pollution. In our day-to-day lives, we depend on plastic items for almost every other need.
We have plastic toothbrushes, plastic mugs, plastic pens, etc. Our whole life revolves around plastic usage! Plastic, after being thrown, does not decay and can cause major health hazards that can’t be cured. Every year along big seashores, we find whales falling dead on the shore with a stomach filled with tons of plastic. So plastic is not a good choice, and we can replace it with other alternatives.
When we step outside our rooms, we forget to turn off lights and fans, leading to energy wastage. Every house, be it in urban or rural background, churns out piles of waste from their homes every day. A scientific way of waste disposal could end soil pollution and attract better ways of handling and treating waste and disposed of resources.
Paper can be recycled, but plastic cannot be recycled. So we can replace our plastic bags and use paper bags in their place. We have to ensure the safe disposal of paints, varnishes, worn-out batteries. Not disposing of them could pollute the air in the immediate environment/neighbourhood and cause further pollution.
Pollution and Loss to National Income
As we begin to put more things into our wardrobe, we should also consciously understand that we are adding to the heap of pollutants around us. When we don’t recycle items and litter our places, we congest our environment and degrade the quality of life. We cause pollution to the air and water sources. Industrial pollution adds debris and creates more havoc than we think. For every such pollution activity, there are associated costs that escalate now and then.
The costs associated with pollution are not directly assessed when a country’s GDP is taken into account. Yet, if we go by relative figures, we can see the same reflected in our national income. Take a simple example: every tourist who visited the sacred Ganges at Varanasi polluted or contributed to pollution. It could be plastic wastes or contaminating water sources.
When all this piled up and was no longer tolerable, the action was essential, and thus it took thousands of crores to clean up the river. This comes from the taxpayer’s money. With every such source of pollution at various other points, national income is seriously affected by pollution factors. Environmental woes add to the problem of pollution plus eat up into the taxpayer’s money since huge sums of relief funds need to be necessitated for welfare activities. Citizens charters have risen to bring about awareness, and we as responsible citizens should stop tolerating this menace.
Pollution, filth, and dirt are common sights when we visit public places in urban areas. Be its railway stations, airports, or bus stands, awareness and consciousness regarding cleanliness are less. When international delegates visit our country to explore business possibilities, they fight for space and greenery in a contaminated and germ-laden atmosphere. So, often the name we achieve in an international scene gets clutched and results in poor remarks in international arenas due to pollution and environmental degradation.
Threat of Diseases
Paying a casual visit to a nearby slum area will give you glaring images of filth, uncleared garbage, poor sanitation facilities, and above all, the spring of diseases and the thriving of life risky viruses and bacteria. Pollution can cause many deadly diseases to both humans and animals. Bronchitis and asthma are becoming common ailments in cities. Not just the older people, even younger generations are falling prey to it.
Smoking is a very normal activity in public places in cities. Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs. The onset of respiratory disease is mainly due to high levels of pollution in cities. Water-borne contaminants can easily cause cholera and diphtheria. Dysentery is a common problem in children when accidentally fed with polluted water. The sewage water mixed with good, potable water can cause mutations to genes and alter the specific creation of progeny in human beings.
Not just that, the high levels of adulterants and toxic minerals and chemicals present in the food we eat can cause gastrointestinal disorders and give way to incurable diseases. Mutations causing cancer are one of the most common things we get to hear, and the loss of lives due to pollution is undoubtedly on a steady rise.
Some of the recent reports cited, formulated, and land out to the Indian public have shortlisted cities with very high pollution levels and threaten the people living there. Gwalior is one of those prominent cities where levels of air pollution are just unacceptable. The WHO also prescribes safety levels and permissible levels of air pollution. Cities like Delhi are much higher than these permissible levels. The cause of such high levels of toxic pollution can be attributed to a rich concentration of particulate matter.
The Kashmir region and neighbouring Himalayan states are also slowly creeping into the list, given their shift from slow pollution to high contamination levels in air matter. Global reports published by WHO every year collect research data from nearly thousands of Indian cities, say around 3000 and more, and then come up with the final list of most polluted cities. The Indian government has also set up committees to act upon this data and monitor pollution.
Ranking of Indian Cities
It is strange to find many Indian cities making their way into the world’s most polluted cities. The numbers are not just ones or twos; they have a major share in terms of pollution. Gwalior leads the list, followed by Allahabad, Patna, and Raipur. Delhi comes a close next. The power plants and industries in these cities contribute maximum to pollution.
All three categories of pollution – air, water, and land were taken into account while listing cities for pollution. Severe health issues and more effective laws to curb pollution in these cities are called for to enforce norms. Environmental degradation and the eruption of health hazards are some of the other threats and risks that can be expected due to pollution.
Pollution is a global crisis today. We can find pollution everywhere, from the garbage we throw from our houses to the sewage and industrial wastes from factories and industries. Contaminants and effective cause harm to human beings and life on Earth. There are laws to check pollution levels in the country. Strict enforcement of these laws is completely missing. Environmental laws have been modified, and the government has also set up a separate ministry for environment and green tribunals to look into the menace of pollution. Urban cities in India score much higher in terms of pollution levels compared to rural counterparts.