Sunday, February 22, 2015

IITM SAFAR App for Health Advisory on Air Pollution in Indian Cities

Research team of IITM has developed the "MobileApp" named "SAFAR-Air" to provide the Online metro Air Quality information Service in real time which is first mobile application service in India to provide current and 1 day advance forecast for air quality and related health advisories.

SAFAR home Page for Delhi, Pune, and other cities

SAFAR-App Flyer

660 Million Indians Loosing 3.2 years of Lifespan due to Air Pollution

The study, published Saturday in the Economic And Political Weekly (EPW) says that 660 million people, or over half of India’s population, "live in areas that exceed the Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate pollution. The study, which was conducted by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard and Yale, further adds that if pollution is reduced in areas where these people live, it could translate into an increase in their average life expectancy of over three years. "Reducing pollution in these areas to achieve the standard would, we estimate, increase life expectancy for these Indians by 3.2 years on average for a total of 2.1 billion life years,” the study notes.

How bad is the outdoor air quality in India?

Global Burden of Disease in India

This finding is significant as India is a labor intensive economy and has been struggling to increase its life expectancy, which is a key socio-economic indicator of development. The Indian government’s latest health statistics reveal that in the last decade, life expectancy has gone up by five years. While an Indian man is expected to live for 67.3 years on an average, a woman is expected to live for 69.6 years. Analyzing data from India’s Central Pollution Control Board, the EPW study found that in 2010, air quality in a staggering 77 percent of the country’s urban areas was worse than the norms prescribed under its air quality standards.

Read more @ International Business Times

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Road Users Suffering the Most in Delhi

A CSE study found that pedestrians and people riding public transport and auto-rickshaws are exposed to dangerously high air pollution levels—which are much higher than those recorded by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee's stationary monitoring stations at the same locations. The aim of the study is to drive home the point that air pollution in Delhi is alarming and should not be overlooked by the new government, said CSE researchers. Read more @ Times of India

"Delhi government should increase cess on diesel cars. Brazil and Beijing do not allow diesel cars. Sri Lanka has imposed very high taxes on import of diesel cars. France has decided to phase out diesel cars completely. Why can't Delhi discourage diesel cars?" Narain said. CSE researchers stressed that linking PUC compliance to issuance of car insurance can help enforce pollution under control norms. Narain also clarified her stand on certain contentious issues. Parking space for buses is a must, she said. "DDA has space for malls and amusement parks but not buses. I think the Millennium Bus Depot should stay. It is the least of the problems for the river," said Narain, adding that she even thought of recommending space in Rashtrapati Bhavan and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for bus depots.

A key solution CSE recommended is to treat NCR like a single 'air-shed' and formulate policies for the entire region as pollution from neighbouring towns is affecting Delhi. She opposed the new government's announcement of bidding for a coal block and setting up a thermal power station, saying gas power stations in Delhi should be supplied fuel first. "They should negotiate for reasonable gas rates and get the power stations running," she said.

Where is the Real Time Monitoring Data in India?

A committee of scientists and air quality experts who have developed an air quality index (AQI) for Central Pollution Control Board are in a dilemma about what advisory the government should issue when there is "hazardous or severe" air quality in a city. Other objections that air quality experts have are that CPCB does not have reliable, real-time air quality data. There is real time monitoring only in 16 cities. Also, former Central Pollution Control Board officials said the data is not calibrated or certified which is why it is "unreliable." "How can the automatic monitoring stations and manual stations have such a huge difference in readings? Where is the real-time data uploaded?"

Read more @ Times of India