Tuesday June 18, 2019
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To Combat ‘Black Cloud’ Pollution, Egypt Comes Up With A New Plan

The World Health Organization is holding its first global air pollution conference in Geneva this week.

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Egypt, pollution, seeds
Air pollution can hamper work productivity. VOA

An Egyptian government program to pay traders to buy rice straw from farmers at the end of harvest has helped to combat one of Cairo’s ugliest features — a huge black cloud that hangs over the Egypt capital during the burning season.

Cairo is the world’s second most polluted megacity, the World Health Organization says, and the government is pursuing several initiatives to cut back greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the biggest contributors to the thick layer of smog has been the annual burning of rice straw by farmers who have no other means to dispose of it.

Pollution, Delhi, egypt
As pollution levels spike, Delhi and its satellite towns are enveloped in a haze of smog. VOA

To tackle the problem, the government offered an incentive to traders to buy the straw from farmers amounting to 50 Egyptian pounds ($3) per ton, said Mohamed Salah, head of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). They can then sell it as animal feed or for other uses.

The program appears to be bearing results.

“Today, the dark cloud season is over and all citizens in Egypt are saying that they have not sensed any significant problem relating to this, unlike what had happened in previous years,” Salah said.

egypt
To tackle the problem, the government offered an incentive to traders to buy the straw from farmers amounting to 50 Egyptian pounds.

An industrial boom in Egypt has also contributed to pollution, Salah said.’

“We have some small industries that are deregulated and are not in line with environmental standards. We have worked hard on these,” he said.

Also Read: Dushhera In Delhi Casts A Dark Blanket, Air Quality Worsens

The World Health Organization is holding its first global air pollution conference in Geneva this week. (VOA)

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Experts Demand for Right Execution of Anti-Pollution Steps

There are policies and programmes to deal with air pollution

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Experts, Demand, Right, Pollution
With polluted air raising health risks in a large part of India, the situation is critical to say the least. Pixabay

 Though nine Indian cities figure among the World Health Organisation’s 10 most polluted global destinations, lack of effective implementation of pollution control measures remains a major challenge, say experts.

The Narendra Modi government’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which ensures LPG connections to women from poor families, has helped lower indoor pollution. But vehicular emissions and stubble burning in the northern states remain major contributors to air pollution.

With polluted air raising health risks in a large part of India, the situation is critical to say the least and assumes significance as we get ready to celebrate the World Environment Day on Wednesday. The United Nation’s has set “air pollution” as the theme for this year’s celebrations.

“There are policies and programmes to deal with air pollution. But there are issues with their management,” said Anand Kumar, Associate Director (Environment and Climate Change) at IPE Global, a consultancy providing technical assistance and solutions for equitable development and sustainable growth in developing countries.

Experts, Demand, Right, Pollution
Nine Indian cities figure among the World Health Organisation’s 10 most polluted global destinations. Pixabay

The government has dealt with vehicular emission through several policies, but stubble burning, which leads to smog and high level of pollutant in the national capital during winters, has not been looked at properly.

Last Diwali, in several parts of Delhi concentration of PM 2.5 exceeded 1,500 µg/m3, way above the “severe” category and could result in respiratory problems to even healthy people, said Kumar.

Environmentalist C.R. Babu stressed the need to raise public awareness. “Technology cannot help much in the fight against air pollution. The natural sinks (to absorb pollutant) have either filled or have been eliminated, while sources of pollution are increasing. How many vacuum cleaners or sprays can be used to remove dust? People’s participation is a must,” he said.

Also Read- BSES Launches First Electric Vehicle Charging Station in City

Babu suggested creation of green buffers as one way. “We need multiple patches of vegetation across the urban areas. Only a carpet of greenery can absorb dust and pollutant,” he said. (IANS)