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Air quality Improves in Delhi After Several Years

Delhi's air quality improves to 'Good', best in years

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air quality
According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (Safar) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi, which was at 47, falling in the good category. Pixabay

Delhi hasn’t breathed this clean in years. Rainfall in and around brought the capital’s air quality on Saturday to the “good” condition, while PM 2.5 levels, recorded at 15 by the US Embassy and 17 by Safar, were the lowest in this year.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (Safar) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi, which was at 47, falling in the good category.

The level of PM2.5 was recorded at 17 and the PM10 level was recorded at 31 on Saturday, Safar said. These denote levels of particulate matter, of two sizes up to 2.5 and 10 micrometres in diameter, in the atmosphere. In comparison, the AQI in New York was recorded at “good” at 17, at 34 in Frankfurt, while in London, it was “moderate” at 52.

A CPCB scientist said that in 2017, the city had witnessed the AQI recorded below 50 – at 42, but could not recall the exact date. The CPCB is recording AQI since 2015 and such good conditions have not been seen in the last four years.

Gufran Baig, scientist and programme director, SAFAR, said that this is the lowest AQI recorded this year and it will remain good for another two to three days. He said that the air quality has improved due to widespread rain received in the northern parts of the country.

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The air quality has improved due to widespread rain received in the northern parts of the country. Pixabay

“Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, all areas surrounding are receiving a good amount of rainfall this year which is improving the air condition in the city. Such kind of rain was never received earlier so the air quality has never reached this level,” Baig said.

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Mahesh Palawat, Vice President, Meteorology and Climate Change, at private forecaster Skymet Weather told IANS that this was the longest spell of clean air experienced by Delhiites.

“The widespread rain has helped in improving air quality in Delhi as well as in Noida and Gurugram. Increased rainfall activity is likely to bring more respite in coming days,” he said, adding that the rain has helped in settling down pollutants. (IANS)

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Barcelona Could Cut Deaths from Air Pollution and Improve Quality of Life by Implementing in Full Plan

A study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), published in the journal Environment International, found the city of Barcelona

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Barcelona, Deaths, Air Pollution
FILE - Pollution and clouds are seen over the sky of Barcelona, Spain, July 25, 2019. VOA

Barcelona could cut deaths from air pollution and improve quality of life by implementing in full a plan to calm traffic and free up space for residents, researchers said Monday.

The compact Spanish city is home to more than 1.6 million people and is plagued by contaminants and noise largely due to heavy density of traffic, as well as lack of greenery.

A study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), published in the journal Environment International, found the city of Barcelona could prevent 667 premature deaths every year if it created 503 “superblocks” as first proposed.

The superblocks — which keep cars out of designated areas in the city and develop public space in streets — have been complex to roll out, with only six put in place so far.

Barcelona, Deaths, Air Pollution
Barcelona could cut deaths from air pollution and improve quality of life by implementing in full a plan to calm traffic and free up space for residents. Pixabay

“What we want to show with this study is that we have to go back and put the citizen at the center of … urban plans, because the health impacts are quite considerable,” said lead author and ISGlobal researcher Natalie Mueller.

As a city with the highest traffic density in Europe, Barcelona also needed to make it easier for people to commute in from the wider metropolitan area by public transport, she added.

The projected reduction in deaths from the superblocks plan would be achieved mainly as a result of a 24% decrease in air pollution from nitrogen oxide (NO2), along with lower traffic noise and urban heat, the study said.

Data released Friday from the Barcelona Public Health Agency showed air pollution accounted for 351 premature deaths in the city in 2018, around the same as in 2017.

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Motor vehicles generated the main pollutant, with almost half the city’s population regularly exposed to NO2 levels above the safe limit set by the World Health Organization, the city council said.

From January 2020, Barcelona will implement low-emission zones on weekdays, keeping 125,000 vehicles out of the city.

The city council will also declare a climate emergency including a package of urgent measures to cut down on private vehicle use and boost public transport, among other actions.

It has already extended cycle paths and upgraded its shared bike scheme, while shrinking on-street parking.

 

Barcelona, Deaths, Air Pollution

The compact Spanish city is home to more than 1.6 million people and is plagued by contaminants and noise largely due to heavy density of traffic, as well as lack of greenery. Pixabay

‘Courage’ needed

Barcelona City Hall told the Thomson Reuters Foundation it aimed to start drafting plans for three new superblocks shortly, as well as launching public consultations for others.

The ISGlobal study found that, besides reducing deaths, a full roll-out of the superblocks project would increase life expectancy by almost 200 days on average per inhabitant, and generate an annual economic saving of 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion).

The superblocks have sparked opposition in some local areas, notably among small traders who fear they could deter customers.

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But Mueller said the concept was similar to banning smoking in bars and restaurants, which was initially unpopular but quickly accepted once people realized the benefits.

“Even if they don’t see it in the beginning, often in the end they are quite happy,” she said, noting the need for “courage” in public policy making. (VOA)