India should be concerned about the soaring Sulfur dioxide emissions level in the country. The subcontinent with increasing pollution in the states is in the race to become world’s top Sulfur dioxide emitter if it’s not already. The stats show that China, which was once a more significant dispenser of the pollutant has seen a dramatic downfall in the levels and has managed to reduce a significant 75% of Sulfur dioxide emission despite increasing coal usage by 50%. According to a NASA report, India’s emission of Sulfur dioxide has taken over that of China’s.

Although China and India remain the world’s largest coal consumers, the research report suggested that China’s Sulfur dioxide emissions fell by 75% since 2007, while India’s emission increased by 50%, mentions the report. Sulfur dioxide is an air pollutant which emits majorly for coal burning and volcanic eruptions. It can have hazardous impacts on the ecosystem, severely affecting humans, plants and animals. Excess Sulfur dioxide emission might lead to acid rain which can be harmful to wildlife and the aquatic ecosystem.

China’s success in countering excess Sulfur dioxide emission has been achieved by several control measures including implementation of policies such as fining polluters, setting emission reduction goals and lowering emission limits. In contrast India which has increased the number of coal power plants and coal factories has not implemented any measures yet to control emissions.

While India currently suffers from a major smog situation in New Delhi, where the pollution levels have overshot the severity mark, majority of cities in China too suffer from unhygienic air quality which in return causes chronic diseases and breathing problems. One of the researchers involved in the process, Can Li says China still has a long way to go and the country needs to put a check on other air pollutants as well and not just Sulfur dioxide. “If China wants to bring blue skies back to Beijing, the country needs to also control other air pollutants,” Li said.

Li also highlighted how China’s concern is a bigger one than India, but reckons that things might get worse for both the nations in future. “Right now, India’s increased Sulfur dioxide emissions are not causing as many health or haze problems as they do in China because the largest emission sources are not in the most densely populated area of India, however, as demand for electricity grows in India, the impact may worsen, Li said.

Here is the contrasting representation of the Sulfur dioxide concentration level in the two countries:

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