Friday February 23, 2018

Permanent solution for pollution in Delhi

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New Delhi: Keeping in mind the rising pollution level in Delhi, Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said in an interview that Delhi’s experiment with odd -even was a “short-term solution” but the union government is taking steps which would result in a permanent solution.

Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said the government would notify new construction and demolition rules.

Also, bypass for trucks has been ordered to be built and Euro VI emission norms would be brought in by 2020.

“Every initiative has its importance, but (odd-even plan) is a short-term solution. The steps we are taking offer a long-term solution to the problem,” Javadekar said in an interview.

A visit for journalists to the Paldev gram panchayat in Madhya Pradesh has been organized by the Ministry of Environment, where Javadekar has adopted six villages for setting up their social infrastructure.

Odd-even formula was introduced by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to control pollution level wherein odd numbered four wheelers were allowed to ply on odd dates and even numbered on even dates.

The formula was on a trial basis for 15 days, beginning on 1st January 2016.

Two-wheelers and CNG vehicles were exempt. Experts said that the impact on pollution was limited during this fortnight though there was a sharp drop in traffic congestion in the capital.

Javadekar argued that construction and demolition waste was one of the major contributors to the pollution levels in the National Capital Region. “For the first time in India, we are ready with construction and demolition rules which will be declared in the next 15 days,” Javadekar said.

With the construction of a bypass for thousands of non-Delhi bound trucks and other vehicles pollution level will reduce permanently, said, minister.

“The project was being discussed for the last 10 years but Modiji got the construction started and it will be ready in the next 18 months,” he said. “This will bring big relief to the citizens who will also have to contribute by maintaining their vehicles, sticking to their lanes, cycling to nearby places and using public transport as much as possible,” Javadekar said.

He also said the government’s target of having Euro VI emission norms by 2020, fours years in advance to the previous UPA government’s target of having it by 2024, was a “huge target” which his government was confident of achieving.

According to the statement, some 150,000 e-rickshaws would ply on the roads of the national capital in the next couple of years as the government had already passed the e-rickshaw bill. “This will change the whole scenario in Delhi.”

The minister was upbeat about the progress in the clean Ganga campaign and said the government was considering a policy whereby the contractors for the effluent treatment plants would be asked to maintain it as well.

Following the CoP21 climate change meeting in Paris last December, the minister said that by June this year discussions on how to achieve emission targets in the next five years in every state and district will be carried out.

“Currently, India’s contribution to the world emissions is only five percent, whereas China, Europe and the US together account for more than 60 percent of the emissions,” he said.

“Our emissions will grow because we are on a growth trajectory but it will grow on a sustainability basis,” he said.

He said his government’s focus was on water saving, energy saving and efficiency measures as well as on increasing forest cover and green initiatives.(IANS)

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Bengaluru kids more exposed to toxic air: Report

Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report

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Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report.
Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report. Wikimedia Commons
  • The school-goers are among the worst affected by the toxic air
  • With an existing fleet of seven million vehicles, nearly 900 new vehicles are added to the Bengaluru’s roads every day
  • Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times

If you are travelling in an open vehicle during peak traffic hours daily in Bengaluru, you are likely to be exposed to severe toxic air. And school-goers are among the worst affected, a report warned on Wednesday.

Between 8.30am and 10.30am, the particulate pollution levels between Banashankari to Marathahalli varied from 70-800 micrograms per cubic meter, an alarming high, says the report, “Bengaluru’s Rising Air Quality Crisis: The Need for Sustained Reportage and Action”, by independent environmental researcher Aishwarya Sudhir.

But why is Bengaluru gridlocked?

With an existing fleet of seven million vehicles, nearly 900 new vehicles are added to the Bengaluru’s roads every day.

Worsening the problem, says the report, is illegal dumping of waste mixed with mass untreated sewage.

Also Read: Neurologists say rising air pollution can cause stroke among adults

The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates. The state capital often referred as India’s Silicon Valley because of its information technology hub, has had its challenges with outdated waste collection, segregation and transportation system, which often results in toxic emissions.

Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab. Wikimedia Commons

The city has 10 online monitoring stations, of which five were introduced in January with an additional feature to generate Air Quality Index.

The five new stations are in Hebbal, Jayanagar, Kavika, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences and Silk Board.

Taking up the cudgels to check the alarming pollution levels, the report says residents of Whitefield Rising in Mahadevapura in November last year tested the air quality in the morning in their locality.

Observed air quality levels exceeded safety limits by more than five times, the particulate matter count was above 400 micrograms (IG) per cubic metre, says the report.

Also Read: How exposure to air pollution in womb may shorten lifespan

Clean up

Sudhir, who is based in Bengaluru, told IANS that the residents initiated a daily activity to clean up roads by hiring a vacuum cleaner and demonstrated that this is indeed possible.

They have been spending money on and off to get the roads cleaned. They have approached the local municipality and the pollution control board to regularise it. So far that hasn’t happened.

Likewise, residents of Malleshwaram have started taking the initiative to tackle the problem of burning leaves, another major cause of air pollution, in their locality by composting in their gardens or empty plots.

The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates.
The city generates around 4,500 to 5,000 tonnes of waste per day, by conservative estimates. Wikimedia Commons

Quoting Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research cardiologist Rahul Patil, the report says: “After eliminating stress and dietary habits, we found cab and auto drivers were the worst hit as they remain stranded for long hours in bad traffic and are exposed to high levels of pollution.”

Co Media Lab Director Pinky Chandran told IANS that unlike New Delhi and other cities, Bengaluru, fortunately, has many citizen-action groups that are championing the cause of clean air.

Also Read: Air Pollution And Its Effects On Our Heath

“The state needs to take its citizens into confidence and formulate an implementable action plan which is based on air quality data so that it can bring about change,” she said.

A seven-day air quality monitoring exercise took up by Co Media Lab and Climate Trends this month found that the particulate matter averages observed over four hours during peak time in the morning and evening were consistently above 200 micrograms per cubic metre, indicating very poor air quality levels.

Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab. Both are based in Bengaluru. (IANS)