Air pollution – A link to Life and Death

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By Pavan Kaushik

Stargazing is one of the most calming activities people often prefer to do with their friends, families and dear ones. If we go outside on a clear night, we can’t help ourselves. Our head tilts back, our eyes rise up, and we find ourselves gazing at the stars.

But do we really get to see clear skies these days? In fact, we often find ourselves disappointed to see the clouded sky and wonder when can we see Van Gogh’s starry night. Well, it is not the clouds that you see up there, but the assimilation of smoke and dust that we are responsible for creating.

All that we did for our comfort and leisure is causing us harm and mother nature is turning the tables now. In the name of smoking, deforestation, burning plastic, wood, construction etc., we have been incessantly spoiling the quality of air for our survival.

Interestingly, The first 14 of the 15 worst cities in terms of air pollution are in India, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This monitors 4,300 world cities for air pollution in terms of PM 2.5 levels. The situation is at its extreme in Kanpur. Delhi and Gurgaon are both in the list. The intensive development of apartment buildings in suburban areas without proper public transportation pushes people into cars thereby reducing green space.

Air pollution is not only harming nature and wildlife, but an adverse effect is widely seen among us. As each day passes by, health issues like Asthma and other respiratory issues, Improper lung function, Cancer, Coughing, wheezing, Damages to the immune system, endocrine and reproductive systems, heart problems etc. are worsening. WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air out of which, 1.81 million people belong to our nation.

Emerging evidence also suggests ambient air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children. Considering the precise death and disability toll from many of the conditions mentioned are not currently quantified in current estimates, with growing evidence, the burden of disease from ambient air pollution is expected to greatly increase.

At Hindustan Zinc, we proudly take several steps to control air pollution. We have installed several ‘Hygiene ventilation systems’ with bag filters for effective collection of fugitives from furnaces, ‘Scrubber system’ with double stage absorption towers for NOx and emissions discharged through the 30m stack to ensure better dispersion and ‘monthly testing’ and ‘Regular monitoring’ of workplace air quality, inside plant and buffer zone along with ‘Online effluent’ and ‘emission monitoring system’ for outside the plant that connects directly to the servers of Pollution Control Board. Our company also ensures to maintain a rich green atmosphere through the policies of Reduce, Recycle, Reuse & Reclaim. In fact, we have the first CII – IGBC certified Platinum Green Building in Rajasthan.

Air pollution is costing our lives and soon the world will be a blur to us because of all the smoke and dust. Before that happens, lets pledge to bring the number of people dying from 7 Million to Zero and to achieve this we need to unanimously contribute in small ways like planting a sapling, avoid smoking, recycling plastic products etc.

“Manthan”, an initiative by Hindustan Zinc, is a series of stories to bring awareness about various concerns like air pollution, water pollution, plastic pollution, noise pollution, climate change, road safety and wildlife protection.

(Pavan Kaushik is the Head – Corporate Communication at Hindustan Zinc)

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