India just launched its first air quality index to provide the public with real time information about pollution levels.
Many believe the move will help raise public awareness of the growing smog problem in India, and spark change towards combating air pollution. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told the BCC that the new air quality index…
“…may prove to be a major impetus to improving air quality in urban areas, as it will improve public awareness in cities to take steps for air pollution mitigation.”
Last year, the Environmental Preference Index ranked India 174 out of 178 countries for air quality.
The pollution is heavily blamed on the increase in vehicles on Indian roads. Increased activity by polluting industries and construction projects, combined with substantial deforestation, has also contributed to the problem.
The move for a public index was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said India will start providing real time data for 10 cities: Delhi, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Chennai, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Faridabad, and Agra.
According to Yahoo News, Modi also…
“…proposed making every Sunday “bicycle day” and switching off street lights during a full moon, amid growing public concern over the impact of air pollution on the health of India’s 1.2 billion people.”