Public perceptions towards air and water pollution in industrial areas of Himachal Pradesh, India

Deepesh Barall, Salig R. Mazta, Sunita ., Shashi P. Thakur, Jyotsna Jhingta


Background: Industrialization carries with it the seeds of environmental damage and has always entailed some serious population health challenges. Reforms initiated seems to be not sufficient. There was a felt need to identify people’s perspective on industrial pollution and its health hazards in the seriously polluted areas of Himachal Pradesh.

Methods: We designed a qualitative study on the perceptions of people towards air and water pollution due to the industrial activities. Eight focus group discussions were convened to extract the public opinion.

Results: The narratives of participants formed five broad thematic areas. It emerged that they have experienced the change in the climate of the area and relied more on their senses to assess their exposure and in identifying sources of pollution. It was endorsed that industries pollute mainly during the night hours. They were of opinion that the overpopulation due to immigration leading to overcrowding and unhygienic sanitation practices have also contributed adversely to their health. There is a general understanding that industry contribute more to these problems than individual. The level of health awareness needs to be raised through extensive IEC activities.

Conclusions: The contribution of the industries to the environmental degradation has been perceived by the people. Multi sectoral approach is the need of the hour with more stringent laws and accurate monitoring mechanism and due importance to the views of the general public should be given in the policies and planning.


Focus group discussions, Health hazards, Industrial air and water pollution, Public perceptions, Qualitative study

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