Day 36 – Q 2. How do geographic features of a place aid to pollution? Explain with the help of suitable examples. 

  • IASbaba
  • July 21, 2020
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GS 1, Indian Geography, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. How do geographic features of a place aid to pollution? Explain with the help of suitable examples. 

किसी स्थान की भौगोलिक विशेषताएं प्रदूषण कैसे बढाती हैं? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से समझाएँ।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to put a clear picture of how do geographic features of a place aid to pollution with relative examples.


Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. Pollution can be caused by the natural as well as human factors. Geographical features of a place aid pollution in natural as well as human related ways.


Geographical features aid to Pollution:

  • Mountains: Mountains stop the horizontal transport of smog, or divert it in another direction, unless the wind is strong enough to blow over the mountain.
  • For instance, Delhi-NCR lies to the north-east of the Thar Desert, to the north-west of the central plains and to the south-west of the Himalayas.
  • As winds arrive from the coasts, bringing with them pollutants picked up along the way, they get ‘trapped’ right before the Himalayas.
  • Wind direction: Winds originating from over the desert landscapes gets trapped inside two parallel mountainous system. Hence, being not able to pass from one direction to other it settles down over the region between two mountains hence, it aids the pollution. 
  • The region becomes a “bowl” that collects pollutants, with only a narrow outlet for it to escape.
  • For instance, The air pressure pushes from one direction, and with the inability to escape quickly in the other, the particulate matter accumulates over the northern plains i.e. the entire expanse between Punjab in the west to West Bengal in the east, including Delhi.
  • Distant away from coastal regions: The most fundamental parameter that impacts air quality is the speed and direction of wind. The wind carries the air pollutants away from it. Winds origination from coastal areas carry  away with them pollutants. 
  • Resulting in freeing the nearby area from pollution.  
  • For example, Chennai has the third highest number of automobiles in India, next only to Delhi-NCR and Bangalore. But being a coastal city Chennai doesn’t experiences same problem of pollution  as that of the Delhi-NCR.
  • Cropping pattern and cycles: Depending on the geographical features farming practises are established. As we know in the plains of Punjab wheat crop is harvested during the times of winter. Hence, stubble burning takes place. It aggravates the pollution in adjoining Northern Indian regions.
  • As the Cropping pattern and cycle is based on the geographical features it aids the pollution. As to intensify the production use of pesticides and fertilizers takes place.
  • Excess amount of pesticide and fertilizer in fresh water gives rise to water pollution.
  • River water  moves slowly in the plain areas hence, it is likely possible that the pollutants may accumulate in to the water and result in pollution of major rivers. e.g. Han River in Wuhan.
  • Also, many of the industrial areas are also established based on the availability of the required raw material in the surrounding area and  other factors. As concentration of the industries takes place in one particular area due to geographical factors it helps to aggravate the pollution problem.
  • For instance, brick kilns industry’s concentration in one particular area can add up to air pollution.
  • Land Pollution: Many of the same pollutants that foul the water also harm the land. Mining industries located in specific geographic regions due to their need of raw materials,  sometimes leaves the soil contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

Actions to combat Geographically aided pollution:

  • Countries around the world are tackling various forms of  pollution. China, for example, is making strides in cleaning up smog-choked skies from years of rapid industrial expansion, partly by closing or cancelling coal-fired power plants.
  • Increased use of clean renewable energy: As burning fossil fuels contribute major chunk of pollution. Shifting to clean and renewable energy sources is the best way to reduce the intensity of pollution. For example, India is aiming  to produce 175GW of renewable energy by 2022.  
  • Introducing the new technological innovations such as smog towers installed in Delhi-NCR.
  • Integrated waste management & circular economy policy can be implemented. 
  • Efforts to combat pollution will contribute to SDG 3 (good health and well-being). SDG target 7.2 on access to clean energy in the home, SDG target 11.6 on air quality in cities, SDG target 11.2 on access to sustainable transport and SDG 13 (climate action), as well as the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate .


As we have understood that geographical feature  aids the pollution and pollution is emerged as one of the major global threats; a proper, clean and planned approach will help to reduce the impact of pollution and helps to achieve the clean & clear environment for the people.

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