Global research points out that exposure to chronic air pollution increases chances of succumbing to Covid-19. Oxides of Nitrogen were one culprit. Remember, NOx can be both the uber dangerous PM2.5 in terms of size plus result in ozone when reacting with pollutants like Volatile Organic Compounds – found in some paints and for cleaning.
Why bird feeding should stop
Today is a good time to discuss the Covid-19 and air pollution link. It has been five years since the Paris Agreement, and we’ve lost a million lives, apart from losing the year. We’ve also seen it’s possible to control air pollution in India. If we didn’t have such high levels of air pollution, would fewer Indians have died of Covid-19?
Possible, but let’s look ahead. In India, fuel and industries emit the most NOx. We must rejig our cities for more public transport and make it easier to use non-motorised transport. As far as industry goes, there is no option but to invest in clean production. Both sources are also significant contributors to climate change. Clearly, we know where the dreadful twain of air pollution and climate change meet.
Clamping down on Glyphosate availability first step to curb use
Now, in 2020, Covid-19, too, has come to roost here. The pandemic might be a freak event, or not. But we can be sure other pandemics lie ahead. In the past, they’ve all hit our respiratory system, so let’s expect the same ahead. History shows us that prevention is the only real cure. To stay safe, we must treat air pollution as the emergency it is-this is key to being both pandemic and climate resilience.
(The writer is the founder and director of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)