Diwali Brings High Pollution Warning For Indian Capital Delhi

India's capital Delhi has the dubious distinction of being the world's most polluted city and Diwali fireworks are making its air pollution even worse. The smog will be particularly dangerous on Nov. 12 and 13, with the concentration of pollution-related particles — PM2.5 and PM10 — projected to increase by 148% and 170% respectively, according to Indian media reports.


News headlines said US President Obama's 3 day visit to New Delhi last year cut his life expectancy by 6 hours. Why? Because Delhi has the highest level of the airborne particulate matter, PM2.5 considered most harmful to health, with 153 micrograms per cubic meter, 15 times higher than the 10 micrograms per cubic meter considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).


World's Dirtiest Cites

Delhi is not alone; Other cities in India claim 13 spots among the top 20 dirties cities in the world. Not far behind  Delhi's 153 micrograms is another Indian city, Patna with 149 micrograms. Other Indian cities among the world's dirtiest are: Agra (88 ug/m3), Allahabad (88 ug/m3), Ahmedabad (100 ug/m3), Amritsar (92 ug/m3), Firozabad (96 ug/m3), Gwalior (144 ug/m3), Khanna (88 ug/m3), Kanpur (93 ug/m3), Lucknow (96 ug/m3), Ludhiana (91 ug/m3) and Raipur (134 ug/m3).  Pakistani cities of Karachi (117 ug/m3), Peshawar (111 ug/m3) and Rawalpindi (107 ug/m3) also count among the world's most polluted.

India's pollution problems are not entirely due to poorly controlled industry and transport. The early winter problems are significantly exacerbated by the burning of the fields by farmers after harvest.

With a score of just 3.73 out of 100, India ranks as the worst country for the ill effects of toxic air pollution on human health among 132 nations, according to a report presented at the World Economic Forum 2012. India's neighbors also score poorly for toxic air pollution, but still significantly better than India. For example China scores 19.7, followed by Pakistan (18.76), Nepal (18.01) and Bangladesh (13.66).


In the overall rankings based on 22 policy indicators, India finds itself ranked at 125 among the bottom ten environmental laggards such as Yemen, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Iraq while Pakistan ranks slightly better at 120. The indicators used for this ranking are in ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, boidiversity, and forest management.

These rankings are part of a joint Yale-Columbia study to index the nations of the world in terms of their overall environmental performance. The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and Columbia's Center for International Earth Science Information Network have brought out the Environment Performance Index rankings every two years since 2006.

The Yale-Columbia study confirms that environmental problems in South Asia are growing rapidly. The increasing consumption by rapidly growing population is depleting natural resources, and straining the environment and the infrastructure like never before. Soil erosion, deforestation, rapid industrialization, urbanization, and land and water degradation are all contributing to it.

It's important to remember that Bhopal still remains the worst recorded industrial accident in the history of mankind. As India, Pakistan and other developing nations vie for foreign direct investments by multi-national companies seeking to set up industries to lower their production costs and increase their profits, the lessons of Bhopal must not be forgotten.

It is the responsibility of the governments of the developing countries to legislate carefully and enforce strict environmental and safety standards to protect their people by reversing the rapidly unfolding environmental degradation. Public interest groups, NGOs and environmental and labor activists must press the politicians and the bureaucrats for policies to protect the people against the growing environmental hazards stemming from growing consumption and increasing global footprint of large industrial conglomerates.

There will be severe health consequences for all Indians unless the Modi government acts to legislate and regulate various sources of pollution in the country. Pakistan government, too, needs to act to prevent severe harm to public health by rising pollution.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India's Air Most Toxic

Pak Entrepreneur Recycles Trash into Energy and Fertilizer

Bhopal Disaster

Environmental Pollution in India

Rising Population, Depleting Resources

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

Heavy Disease Burdens in South Asia

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India could push world into climate change danger zone, warn scientists. #climatechange #Modi http://gu.com/p/4e532/stw


India’s growth in emissions could tip the world over the threshold to dangerous climate change, experts have said.

The alert comes as the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, prepares to visit the UK on Thursday for talks on issues including the environment.

India is due to ask the UK and other rich nations to share breakthroughs in renewable energy and other “clean” technology, and for help financing a huge expansion in efficiency and solar and wind power. It is unclear whether British officials will pressure Modi to consider a tougher emissions target.

Before the UN climate summit in Paris in December, India has pledged to increase carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions more slowly than the economy grows. The latest analysis of India’s plan calculates that if it expands as it hopes – by more than 8.5% a year – emissions will reach 9bn megatonnes by the end of the next decade.

This is about one-fifth of the total annual emissions that scientists calculate the world can emit in 2030 and still have a more than a 50% chance of avoiding the global temperature rising more than 2C, considered a dangerous threshold. Although India would rank second behind China for total emissions, unlike China and other large emitters it has not set a date by which they would peak, while new coal-fired power and other new infrastructure would commit the country to relatively high pollution levels for decades.


Delhi warns against Diwali fireworks to safeguard air quality
Read more
“If India’s plans to burn coal go ahead, it will make it hard for us to make the two degree target,” said Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham institute on climate change and the environment, at the London School of Economics, which carried out the study. “The chances are growth will be lower, but it’s hard to imagine we’ll get down to a pattern consistent with two degrees.”

Further pressure has been put on India by the International Energy Agency, which on Tuesday published it’s annual report on global energy use, and considered the Indian case to be so critical that it devoted several chapters to the country’s rapidly rising use of coal and oil in particular. “Meeting India’s energy needs requires … constant vigilance as to the implications for energy security and the environment,” the IEA said.

Although India has so far failed to meet its hopes for growth, its population is expected to rise from 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion by the middle of this century – overtaking China as the world’s largest – and it is pursuing aggressive expansion of industry and energy production to lift an estimated 300 million people out of poverty.

“It is estimated that more than half of [the] India of 2030 is yet to be built,” the government has said, citing “exponential” growth in demand for housing, energy, transport, water and waste disposal. The risks posed by India’s rapid growth are at the heart of ongoing tension between rich and poor nations, with developing and emerging economies arguing that countries that have already become rich on fossil fuel energy should make deeper cuts in emissions rather than curb poorer countries’ growth.

India’s emissions per person are 1.7 metric tons a year, compared with nearly 17t in the US and more than 7t in both China and the European Union.


Narendra Modi retains core support at home as world tour reaches UK
Read more
“India’s argument is that they have development challenges which must take priority, and currently the cheapest route to development is through high-carbon infrastructure,” said Diarmuid Torney, author of a new book on China and India’s climate policies. “They don’t have time to wait for the cost of renewable energy to fall

“But if India’s emissions increase at the projected rate and developed country emissions don’t decline rapidly over the short to medium term, then the maths does get us into trouble.”
Riaz Haq said…
A Huge Noxious #Garbage fire in #India's biggest city #Mumbai was so bad you could see it from space #NASA http://wpo.st/83A91

Last week, a fire in the largest landfill in Mumbai sent smoke across the Indian coastal metropolis. It burned for four days, cloaking parts of the city in a thick, noxious smog. Some 70 schools were forced to close out of public health fears. Fourteen firetrucks and eight bulldozers were needed to bring the fire under control.

NASA's Earth Observatory captured the blaze from space. A more zoomed-out picture shows the extent to which the fire, streaming out of a teeming eastern suburb, was singularly discernible.

"Fires in landfills are often particularly difficult to extinguish because they burn through methane, plastic, and other highly flammable substances," NASA noted on its website.

The cause of the fire is as yet undetermined, but local authorities suspect youthful miscreants may have set it off intentionally.

It highlights the disastrous lack of adequate waste management in Mumbai, India's biggest city, with a population of 21 million. The Deonar landfill receives a third to as much as three-quarters of all of Mumbai's garbage, yet it doesn't have a proper waste treatment facility.

The Wall Street Journal describes how grim the situation is there:

Experts say the landfill needs an underlying layer of clay to prevent toxic materials seeping into the soil and polluting the groundwater. The waste also needs to be alternated with a layer of soil to allow it to decompose properly.

Tatva Global Deonar Environment Ltd., the contractor in charge of the Deonar dump, said [Mumbai's city government] had not provided the material necessary despite agreeing to do so.

The municipal body also dumped more than 6,000 tons of waste a day in the landfill, more than double the agreed amount, a spokesman for the contractor said in an email.

A journalist at the Times of India publicized a letter written by a 6-year-old to local authorities, pleading for something to be done.

Riaz Haq said…
WHO: 4 of the top 10 dirtiest cities are in #India. #climatechange #airpollution http://on.wsj.com/1YnFLsG via @WSJ

The World Health Organization’s latest study showed that many of the world’s most polluted cities were located in fast-developing nations. The worst levels of small particulate matter were recorded in the eastern Iranian city of Zabol, which is regularly hit by seasonal dust storms, with a so-called PM2.5 reading of 217

That city was followed by Gwalior and Allahabad in India, and Riyadh and Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia. India’s Patna and Raipur were the sixth and seventh most polluted, according to the report by the WHO, .

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The pollutants, which come from dust, soot and smoke, can penetrate deep into the lungs, increasing the risk of heart and lung diseases including asthma and lung cancer, the WHO said.

Delhi, India’s capital, tied with another Indian city, Ludhiana, for 11th worst in the world for air pollution, with a PM2.5 measurement of 122, according to the WHO study. Beijing tied for 36th with a PM2.5 reading of 85. Delhi has recently tested out measures the Chinese capital has used to restrict the number of cars on its roads.
Riaz Haq said…
India and China account for more than half of the world’s premature deaths due to air pollution, a new report said.

Noting that India’s lives lost to the tiny particulate matter is “approaching” China’s numbers, the ‘State of Global Air 2017’ report said that among the 10 most populous countries and the European Union (EU), Bangladesh and India have the highest exposure to PM2.5, the “steepest” rise since 2010.


What
Globally, there was 60 per cent rise in ozone attributable deaths, with a striking 67 per cent of this increase occurring in India.
The ‘State of Global Air 2017’ is the first of a new series of annual reports and accompanying interactive website, designed by Health Effects Institute in cooperation with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and University of British Columbia.
In 2015, long-term exposure to PM2.5 contributed to 4.2 million deaths and to a loss of 103 million years of healthy life. China and India together accounted for 52 per cent of the total global deaths attributable to PM2.5.
It found that increasing exposure and a growing and aging population have meant that India now rivals China for among the highest air pollution health burdens in the world, with both countries facing some 1.1 million early deaths due to it in 2015.
According to the report, while 11,08,100 deaths were attributed to PM2.5 exposure in China in 2015, in India, it was 10,90,400.
Around 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in areas with “unhealthy” air.
Bangladesh and India, have experienced the steepest rise in air pollution levels since 2010 and now have the highest PM2.5 concentrations among the countries.
Among the world’s 10 most populous countries and the EU, the biggest increase (14 per cent to 25 per cent) in seasonal average population-weighted concentrations of ozone over the last 25 years were experienced in China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Brazil.
China, India, Bangladesh, and Japan increases in exposure, combined with increases in population growth and aging, resulted in net increases in attributable mortality.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India had PM2.5 attributable Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) rates that were 5 to 10 times the lowest rates, which were found in the US and Japan.

http://www.ksgindia.com/index.php/study-material/news-for-aspirants/5972-state-of-global-air-2017-report

https://www.stateofglobalair.org/sites/default/files/SOGA2017_report.pdf

Popular posts from this blog

China Sees Opportunity Where Others See Risk

Economic Comparison Between Bangladesh & Pakistan

Smartphones For Digital & Financial Inclusion in Pakistan