Increase In Pollution  

According to latest data by Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (PCB), the air quality in Srinagar has been consistently deteriorating for the past three years.

As per experts, pollution causes bodily disabilities, leading to the non-functioning of the vital organs of the body.

Air pollution is one of the factors for respiratory ailments and associated diseases even though there is no conclusive data available in the country to establish direct correlation between health and air pollution, the government informed parliament recently.

A senior doctor here however recently said that air pollution is the main issue of J&K due to the increasing number of vehicles, construction, brick kilns and cement factories which emit pollutants and significantly pollute air and affect health, claiming many lives annually.

As per Stockhoim Declaration of United Nations on Human Environment, 1972: “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life. In an environment of equality that permits a life of dignity and well-being and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations.”

It is important to understand that it affirms aspects of environment, the natural and the man-made. The protection is essential to well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights–the right to life itself.

Over the years, the government says various steps towards prevention and control of pollution caused by various industries were taken by it. The steps towards control of industrial pollution inter alia include the adherence by SPCBs and PCCs in States and Union Territories respectively to ensure the compliance of various standards. So far, industry specific environmental standards, for about 80 industrial sectors, have been notified.

In 2021, the Chief Secretary rightly emphasized need for the constant monitoring of air quality in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the Forest Department to install a grid of Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) across all districts for real time assessment of PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NOx, NH3, CO, O3, and benzene in the J&K. How much progress has been made needs to be reviewed for implementing the National Clean Air Programme in J&K.

According to the Supreme Court, the environment is a polycentric and multi-facet problem affecting human existence. While no industrial cluster in J&K falls under the critically polluted area, there is need for constant watch. In the overall scenario, prevention of pollution has to be integrated into the development agenda and all steps need to be taken to reduce the pollution to bare minimum levels.

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