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All You Need To Know About National Pollution Control Day

  • 01 Dec 2021

"The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future," said Marya Mannes.

National Pollution Control Day focuses on preventing pollution and raising awareness about the ways we keep exploiting mother nature. This day is observed on 2nd December every year in remembrance of the people who passed away in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, 1984.

What is the significance of 2nd December?

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy took place in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, on 2nd and 3rd December, 1984. This devastating chemical leak was said to be one of the worst industrial disasters of all time.

Approximately 45 tons of methyl isocyanate escaped from an insecticide plant from the Union Carbide Corporation’s Indian subsidiary. This highly dangerous gas spread over the overcrowded neighbourhood and instantly killed over thousands of people. Amongst the death and anxiety, thousands of people rushed to flee from Bhopal.

A death toll of 15,000 to 20,000 people was calculated with over half a million more injured and suffering various diseases. The exposure to methyl isocyanate caused eye irritation, blindness and several respiratory problems. Sadly, most families who suffered were given a compensation of only a few hundred dollars.

Much to the disgust of environmentalists, more than 400 tons of industrial waste still lay present on the site, even in 2021. The still deteriorating soil and water qualities has been blamed for generations worth of birth defects.

With the high death toll and the years worth of sorrow it caused, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy was commemorated by raising awareness through National Pollution Control Day on the day it took away the lives of thousands.

Statistics that Show the Need for National Pollution Control Day

A 2020 survey showed that out of the top 14 most polluted cities in the world, 13 of them belong in India. Although the pollution rates seem to be gradually decreasing, the end of the Covid lockdown has led to an onsurge of people going out once again thereby negating all environmental gains earned during the lockdown period.

Air pollution is responsible for 12.5% of all deaths in India. The harmful gases in the air kill an average of 8.5 out of every 10,000 children in India before they turn 5 years old (WHO, 2018). Small girls are at higher risk as 9.6 out of every 10,000 girls die before the age of 5.

86% of all rivers in India are considered “critically polluted”. There are 351 polluted river stretches in India. With the on-set of industrialisation, the pollution is only going to get worse.

Studies show that 1.67 million deaths in 2019 were due to air pollution in India. This accounted for 17.8% of the total deaths in the country.

Air pollutants are so tiny that they seep through mucus membrane and other protective barriers and cause damage to your lungs, brain and heart. Not only does it harm an individual’s health, but also damage the ozone layer and make way for holes in it.

Objectives of National Pollution Control Day

National Pollution Control Day has four major objectives:

  • Raising awareness about the increasing air pollution
  • Spreading education on how to manage and control industrial disasters
  • Make people aware of the significance of pollution acts
  • Ways to prevent industrial pollution caused by human negligence

Laws that help control pollution:

India has taken action and made laws that help with pollution control. These laws include:

Quotes Related to National Pollution Control Day

  • “Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented.” — Barry Commoner
  • “The environment will continue to deteriorate until pollution practices are abandoned.” — B.F. Skinner
  • “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau
  • “Today we’re dumping 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the environment, and tomorrow we will dump more, and there is no effective worldwide response. Until we start sharply reducing global-warming pollution, I will feel that I have failed.” — Al Gore

National Pollution Control Day has a heart-breaking background but the ray of hope still shines through. It serves as a reminder of what human negligence and carelessness does to the environment. India progresses every year when it comes to pollution control with this remarkable day. Although not a national holiday, pollution control is reaching millions of people through school curriculums and social media. In the midst of a pandemic, we can only pray for the loving souls we lost in 1984 and work for a pollution free future.

 Jess Doshi 

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