Over 627,000 people die prematurely and 18 million healthy life years are lost every year due to particulate air pollution Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said at the Anil Agarwal Dialogue held in memory of CSE’s founder Anil Agarwal in the national capital today. She said that despite decades of air quality management, particle pollution remains one of the top killers.
Particle pollution is the microscopic solid and liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is mostly black carbon, which is a product of incomplete combustion.
“Black carbon is local air pollutant and has global impact as well. The issue to deliberate will be the emerging science on local-global pollutants and also to understand the national road maps for intervention in key areas of mitigation and to see if these are sufficient or transformational approaches are needed,” Narain said.
The two-day event, that began on Wednesday, had discussions on black carbon and its impact of the climate.
A mobile application launched in dozens of U.S. and Canadian cities on Monday measures the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions of inner-city travel, its creators said, letting concerned commuters map their so-called carbon footprints.
Mapping app Cowlines can suggest the most efficient route as well which uses the least fuel, combining modes of transport such as bicycling and walking, within cities, its Vancouver, Canada-based creators said.
Some two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to settle in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.
The trend presents an environmental challenge, given that the world’s cities account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only will the app measure a trip’s emissions and suggest alternatives, it will provide the data to cities and urban planners working on systems from subway lines to bike-sharing programs, said Jonathan Whitworth, chief strategy officer at Greenlines Technology, which created the app.
“As you would imagine here in Canada, especially Western Canada, most people are driven by the environmental side of it,” Whitworth told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The app aims to encourage users in 62 U.S. and Canadian cities to use cleaner modes of transportation, from mass transit to walking or biking, he said.
In the United States, mass transit accounts for less than 2 percent of passenger miles traveled, according to Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.
“People are starved for good information and data for good travel choices,” said Sperling.
The app’s suggested route is a cowline – city planner parlance for the fastest route, said Whitworth. In pastoral settings, a cowline is the most direct path cattle use to reach grazing grounds.