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In India, the government is attempting to bring the focus of attention on the presence of fine dust particles as well as the presence of fly ash in the air, and this attempt is being carried out by a series of mitigation measures. The need of the day is to take certain practical steps that would succeed in tackling the problem to some extent, and it is towards this goal that the Government of India has been trying to offer institutional aid along with human capital wherever necessary, in lieu of the severe financial constraints that the region faces.
However, the fact remains that the various policy options being considered have been evolved over a long period of time, and when the need is urgent, this does not give any immediate relief to the suffering people of the region. Therefore the general opinion of the people as well as of the policy makers is that the immediate adoption of the 'best available technology' to offer aid to these people and also to try to combat the severe air pollution present here is a must. This, and only this, they state, is the way in which to fight the steadily worsening air pollution of the region, and therefore bring relief to the people. However, there are dissenters, who state that unless the standards were to be phased out over several years, and the standards forced upon stringently over a period of time, there would be no impact on the escalating air pollution in the region. What is very evident is that the Government of India has been concentrating its concerted efforts to fight air pollution on the control of the pollution arising from road traffic, and although it is a fact that this is indeed an important element in the air pollution controlling strategies being attempted by the government, this may not be the primary issue to address. This also means that studies would not be undertaken on the various other existing forms of air pollution, and also that air emissions from other sources would be completely ignored and pushed into the background. (South Asia Urban Air Quality Management)
This may not be completely true all over the South Asian region, and it has been noticed that in recent years, the primary focus of the government, the civil society, as well as of the several industries of South Asia has been on fighting the affects of air pollution on the people of the same region. The cities and the countries of South Asia differ in the levels of air pollution, in the levels of urbanization, and the number of people who are exposed to the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. The fiscal regime of the region, the amount of fuel that is used, the infrastructure of the supply of this fuel, and the availability of the fuel, all plays an important role in determining the amount of resources needed to tackle the issue of air pollution within the region. Perhaps this is the reason that various South Asian governments have adopted different paths and also different strategies to tackle this important problem. India is one country that leads the others in its methods of handling the problem, and the reason for this may be that it has the highest amount of air pollution in comparison with other countries, and this in turn may be due to heavy vehicular usage in the region. (Tackling Air Pollution in South Asia)
The health benefits that would arise if the problem were to be tackled immediately are enormous. Not only would the general health of the population become infinitely better, but also the other ill effects of air pollution, like for example, poor visibility, damage to crops and to other forms of vegetation, and green gas emissions would all be avoided. However, it would not be sufficient if only local forces contributed towards the tackling of air pollution; the involvement of outside agencies is also a must. In this case, the WHO, or the World Health Organization has been actively involved in the issue, and is ready with the proper guidelines and necessary procedures as well as financial resources to handle the problem. The size of the airborne particles being of utmost importance in the extent of air pollution, the WHO has conducted studies on the subject, and has released the relevant data. The European and the U.S. standards for the numerical guidelines for particulate matter are often taken into consideration too, but the fact is that the Indian standards for the evaluation for 'respirable suspended particulate matter' or what is known as 'RSPM' is of sufficient standard, and this is the method of evaluation most often used by the South Asian region in its study and thee development of the solution to the existing air pollution in the region. The Table below illustrates the Indian RSPM:
The Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter
PM 10, 24-Hr Avg.
PM 10, Anl Avg. PM 2.5, 24-Hr Avg. PM 2.5, Anl Avg.
The 24-hour time limit that has been specified under the table for USA is in reference to the 98 percentile, the EU Standard is to have achieved by January of 2005, and the three numbers under India are for its RSPM and refer to industrial / residential / sensitive areas respectively. (Tackling Air Pollution in South Asia) Although there is intense interest in environmental issues and the resultant ill effects of all types of pollution and other types of environmental problems, and there has been a large amount of recognition of the global impact that economic development would have on the environment, it is still a fact that the citizen's awareness of food safety issues and other forms of problems have combined to make trade and the environment inter-related and a major source of disagreements and arguments. This is the issue that has become the primary focus of multinational talks and also in important environmental issue debates. The main argument is that the U.S.A. And other rich countries must use their own trade policies to force the developing countries of the world to not only lower the levels of pollution within their countries, but also give more importance to preserving their natural heritage. In the long-term, perhaps this would work better than anything else in lowering the pollution in the environment, and also preserving the rich vegetation and animal life that still exists on this Plant Earth. (Trade and the Environment)
Deforestation is another important environmental issue that needs to be addressed immediately. What are the causes of deforestation? The main causes are man and the impact that he leaves on the forests because of his indifference or his negligence or his unawareness, or a combination of all three. Some of the other causes like forest fire, diseases and forest-induced stress are all natural causes, but the fact is that they all result from man's actions like for example, land clearance for the purpose of making more buildings for the burgeoning population, overgrazing of the cattle, cutting of trees for the purpose of using the wood for building, and timbre and logging habits. These root causes for deforestation have in fact caused extremely serious damages to forests all over South Asia, including India. Generally, the persons who want to clear the land for their own purposes cause fires, and sometimes, the fire may rage out of control. (Deforestation: South Asia Needs to Act)
In most South Asian countries, there is a clear lack of the policies and the standards that are needed in order to have a sustained development of forests and their resources. This is because of the fact that when deforestation does occur in an unplanned and unorganized manner, the result is wastage of precious natural resources, as well as a loss of timber and other wood, and the impact is felt in the economy of the country. In addition, deforestation also brings about severe hardships and difficulties for those people who are dependent on the forests or even live in them. Agricultural productivity is severely curtailed on account of deforestation, and in certain very sensitive areas, the springs or other water bodies located near or around the forests may dry up. When the water resources start to deplete, this means that not only will the plant growth in the areas be severely affected, but the wildlife in the area suffers too. The eventual result may be that the forest area would turn into a veritable desert.
The process of deforestation would reduce the very fertility of the soil, and this means that there will be less fertile land for agriculture, and this in turn would mean that there would be less food being grown. Aside form all these adverse effects of deforestation, there are a few more important results of the phenomenon, and these are that it would eventually cause the richness of wildlife species to decline, there would also…[continue]
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