Wednesday June 19, 2019

Mornings are worst air pollution times in Delhi and other major cities

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A view of Delhi: Wikimedia Commons

If you think mornings are the best time for outdoor exercise, you’re wrong.

Mornings experience the worst air pollution in four Indian cities, according to an analysis of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 data from IndiaSpend’s #Breathe air-quality sensors in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai between March 15 to April 15 2016.

Delhi: Best air quality —4 pm

Mornings were the worst time, with PM 2.5 levels reaching as high as 108.16 µg/m3 at 7 am. Air quality gradually improved as the day wore on, registering the cleanest air at 4 pm. (22.84 µg/m3). Pollution levels then picked up through the night.

Delhi topped the list of the world’s most-polluted cities, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Bengaluru: Best air quality–midnight

The worst air was at 7 am, as PM 2.5 concentrations peaked at 61.54 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3). The air quality improved as the day wore on, worsening by evening at about 5 pm, reaching a late-evening high at 7 pm (57.60 µg/m3). The best air quality was registered around midnight, when PM 2.5 levels fell as low to 40.12 µg/m3.

Chennai: Best air quality—3 pm

The worst air was at 7 am, with PM 2.5 levels (61.54 µg/m3) reached their peak. Levels began to peak over the night and slide during the day, after 7 am. The best air quality was recorded in the afternoon, at 3 pm, with PM 2.5 levels reaching as low as 20.76 µg/m3.

 

Mumbai: Best air quality—5 pm

The worst hour for a Mumbaikar is 8 am, with PM 2.5 levels reaching 48.61 µg/m3; the air started to worsen after 5 am. The best air quality was registered at 5 pm, when PM 2.5 levels were 22.38 µg/m3.

Outdoor air pollution causes 670,000 deaths annually in India, according to a 2014 research paper from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Air pollution has become a global concern with rising air pollution levels, as outdoor air pollution in cities and rural areas across the world estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012, according to the WHO.

Particulate matter is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. These are classified according to their diameter. Particles less than 2.5 µm (micrometres) are called PM 2.5. They are approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair. Particles between 2.5 to 10 µm in diameter are called PM 10.

PM 10 and PM 2.5 include inhalable particles that are small enough to penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system. The health effects of inhalable PM are well documented, caused by exposure over both the short-term (hours, days) and long-term (months, years). They include: Respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity such as aggravation of asthma, respiratory symptoms, and an increase in hospital admissions; and mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and from lung cancer.

There is good evidence of the effects of short-term exposure to PM 10 on respiratory health, but for mortality, and especially as a consequence of long-term exposure, PM 2.5 is a stronger risk factor than the coarse part of PM 10.

There is a close relationship between exposure to high concentrations of small particulates (PM 10 and PM 2.5) and increased mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular/respiratory diseases and cancer, both daily and over time, according to the WHO.

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. The views expressed are those of India Spend. Feebback at respond@indiaspend.org)

–IANS/IndiaSpend

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India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)