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Ozone Pollution and Its Impact in India



  Feb 07, 2024

Ozone Pollution and Its Impact in India



What is tropospheric ozone and why is it a concern?

Tropospheric ozone, or ground-level ozone, is a secondary pollutant formed by the reaction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. It is a concern because it is the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane, contributing to global warming. Additionally, high concentrations of tropospheric ozone can cause health problems, including breathing difficulties and premature death, and can also damage vegetation and ecosystems.

How is tropospheric ozone formed?

Tropospheric ozone is formed through chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when these pollutants are exposed to sunlight. These precursor pollutants can come from natural sources, such as lightning and biogenic emissions, as well as anthropogenic sources, including industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, and biomass burning.

What did the study by Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur reveal?

The study revealed an increasing trend in tropospheric ozone levels across India from 2005 to 2020, using satellite and ground-based data. It found that peninsular India showed the highest increase in ozone levels, while the northwest showed the lowest. Seasonally, the highest increase was observed during the monsoon season. The study also highlighted that enhanced ozone levels could warm the climate by up to 0.2 °C to 0.5 °C in different regions of India.

What are the implications of rising tropospheric ozone levels?

Rising tropospheric ozone levels imply an increase in air pollution and greenhouse gas concentrations, leading to health issues, reduced agricultural productivity, and global warming. The warming effect of increased ozone levels can exacerbate climate change impacts, affecting weather patterns, water resources, and ecosystems.

What measures can be taken to reduce tropospheric ozone pollution?

Reducing tropospheric ozone pollution requires controlling emissions of its precursor pollutants, NOx and VOCs. This can be achieved through policy measures targeting industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust, and biomass burning. Strategies may include implementing stricter emission standards, promoting clean energy sources, enhancing public transportation, and encouraging practices that reduce biomass burning. Reducing air pollution not only decreases ozone formation but also benefits public health and mitigates climate change.


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