Saturday, November 01, 2014

Pollution Clouding Cairo

A dark cloud once again hangs over Egypt's capital. It's not economic distress. It's quite literally a dark cloud — a concentrated layer of pollution that descends on Cairo every fall, engulfing the city and reminding residents of the government's inconsistent attempts to redress a constant problem.

Read the detailed article here.

The World Health Organization does not rank cities based on levels of outdoor air pollution, but data it compiled covering 2008-2013 show Cairo is more polluted than Bangkok, Mexico City and Beijing. Though Cairo's not as polluted as Delhi in India or Karachi in Pakistan, it still has a PM2.5 level — a measure of the concentration of fine particles in the air — that is more than seven times higher than WHO guidelines. High levels of PM2.5 have been linked to heart disease and cancer.

Dirtier and Hotter (the Guardian)

Residents describe the phenomenon that has occurred in Cairo in October and November for over a decade as a black cloud, but El-Dorghamy said it's really a "brownish cloud." "It's (comprised of) a mix of volatile organic compounds — carcinogenic substances — sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and also invisible gases like carbon monoxide and other gases," El-Dorghamy said.
Black or brown, the cloud is the result of a fusion of factors including the seasonal burning of rice straw by farmers seeking to clear their fields, the fumes emitted from Cairo's notoriously heavy traffic and industrial pollutants. "It's like having smokers in a closed room and then you start lowering the ceiling," El-Dorghamy said.

The cloud doesn't loom over Cairo alone. Ahmed Hassan, who lives in the Nile Delta region that fans out northward from the capital for more than a hundred miles, said he has been experiencing pollution-related illness that affects his throat. "Look at the sky — I can't breathe," said Hassan, a lawyer. "A lot of people are sick — children, old people — all over the place."

To address the problem, Egyptian authorities monitor emissions in the cement industry and have made waste burning illegal, according to the World Bank. They have invested in infrastructure such as metro lines that could reduce pollution, while natural gas has been widely introduced in the power, industrial, housing and transport sectors.

It's not clear whether it's helping. Grass-roots efforts are limited. The government faces a slew of other concerns that may prevent it from dealing with the problem. "You can talk about environment as much as you want, but if you can't feed people or maintain an economy, the environment becomes pretty unimportant," Molyneux-Berry said.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

US Embassy Issues Air Quality Warning in Delhi

If you have children in New Delhi, you might not want to let them play outside today. The U.S. Embassy in the Indian capital said air quality – as measured at a monitoring station in the embassy compound – had reached “very unhealthy” levels on Wednesday morning. 

Article from the Wall Street Journal

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the embassy said its air-quality index was 255 – a measure based on the amount of fine particulate, or PM 2.5, in the air. Such small particulates can enter the lungs and blood stream. They have been linked to severe health problems such as lung cancer. The U.S. Embassy’s website said that an air-quality index reading between 201 and 300 can cause “significant aggravation of heart or lung disease” and a “significant increase in respiratory effects in general population.” “Older adults and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors,” it said. “Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.”

The message though hadn’t got through to the American Embassy School in Delhi on Wednesday morning. Kailash Sharma, a staff member at the school, which is located across the road from the embassy, said by telephone that “kids were playing outside.”

The U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, also monitors air pollution. 

Delhi’s air quality often deteriorates in winter, particularly in the days after the festival of Diwali when residue from fireworks displays adds to pollution levels.  India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences on Wednesday said its air-quality index was 121, a level described as “poor.” But it could be worse: some of the smoggiest days in New Delhi in December 2013 had air-quality index levels of 400, which are considered hazardous to health. India ranks last among the world’s 20 biggest economies in terms of air pollution levels, and along with China, has the highest average exposure to PM 2.5 in the world, according to a report published in January by the scientists at Yale and Columbia universities in the U.S. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Air Pollution News & Alerts - October 25th, 2014

Economic Times, October 25th, 2014
Data thrown up by India's air quality monitoring stations during diwali riddled with flaws.

Times of India, October 25th, 2014
Diwali sends pollution levels spiralling in Delhi.

Asian Correspondents, October 24th, 2014
Beijing combats garbage crisis with new trash incinerator.

BBC, October 24th, 2014
EU leaders agree CO2 emissions cut.

The City Fix, October 23rd, 2014
How providing Wi-Fi can increase mass transit ridership.

The Guardian, October 22nd, 2014
China's coal use falls for first time this century.

Economy Watch, October 22nd, 2014
A Future with a Low-Carbon Asia.

Power Technology, October 20th, 2014
BHEL commissions 600MW thermal power unit in Madhya Pradesh, India.

World Coal, October 20th, 2014
China’s gas demand will grow but so will its need for coal.

ECNS, October 20th, 2014
'Mask show' at Beijing Marathon prompts calls for smog warning system.

The Hindu, October 20th, 2014
No Diwali crackers, no lung cancer, say Delhi doctors.

The Atlantic, October 19th, 2014
Beijing's Marathon Marred by Terrible Pollution.
 Indian Express, October 19th, 2014
Don’t have a pollution certificate? Can’t refuel.

Times of India, October 19th, 2014
Air pollution on Diwali getting worse.

Times of India, October 18th, 2014
Winter months worst for Delhi.

The Telegraph, October 18th, 2014
Cities to put figure on air pollution.

ECNS, October 16th, 2014
China launches new air quality inspections.

Grist Magazine, October 16th, 2014
Why fracking won’t solve climate change.

Energy Central, October 15th, 2014
Cloudy skies ahead for coal industry.

The Diplomat, October 15th, 2014
China Tries to Kick Its Coal Addiction.

Energy Central, October 15th, 2014
600mw Power Project Gets the Nod in Zimbabwe.

Energy Central, October 15th, 2014
Rising population hurting access to power.

ECNS, October 14th, 2014
Bus and subway fare rises a step nearer in Beijing.

Economic Times, October 14th, 2014
Why India’s numbers on air quality can’t be trusted.

Times of India, October 14th, 2014
Cyclone effect felt as pollution surges in Delhi.

ECNS, October 14th, 2014
Beijing given 10% of central funds to curb air pollution.

Energy Central, October 13th, 2014
Joint venture to begin working for 1320MW plant in Bangladesh.

Power Engineering, October 13th, 2014
World Bank ‘misguided’ on decision not to bankroll coal.

Indian Express, October 12th, 2014
AIIMS study links air pollution, arthritis.

Asia One Singapore, October 12th, 2014
One man's bid to map haze here through crowdsourcing.

Press TV, October 12th, 2014
Air pollution hits 20 times safe levels in northern China.

Greenpeace Blogs, October 11th, 2014
Airpocalypse hits Beijing- and breaks devastating new record.

LA Times, October 11th, 2014
Beijing smog a work hazard for Mariah Carey, soccer stars.

Des Moines Registrar, October 11th, 2014
Iowa roots: James Hansen speaks truth to power.

China Daily, October 10th, 2014
Beijing to keep the lid on air pollution for APEC.

ECNS News, October 10th, 2014
China speeds up national standard for anti-pollution masks.

China Daily, October 10th, 2014
Pilot program to test air pollution at schools.

Power Engineering, October 10th, 2014
Unrest continues to impact on Ukrainian power plants.

BBC, October 10th, 2014
Heavy Smog engulfs parts of northern China.

IEA News, October 10th, 2014
Drax, UK: Coal and biomass, synergies and differences, Coal Science lecture.

Energy Central, October 9th, 2014
New 5-year plan to raise goals for renewables.

Global Times, October 9th, 2014
China to resume coal import tariffs.

South China Morning Post, October 9th, 2014
Beijing on alert as smog sets in.

The Himalayan, October 8th, 2014
Dust particles found in excess in mornings‚ evenings.

Live Mint, October 7th, 2014GMR operationalises first unit of Chhattisgarh supercritical thermal power plant.

Scientific American, October 7th, 2014
Clean Coal Era Begins.

Indian Express, October 6th, 2014
Discussion on Thermal Plants Held.

The Hindu, October 6th, 2014
The case against flyovers.

Financial Express, October 5th, 2014
Dhaka's air pollution falls after a decade.

DNA India, October 5th, 2014
Additional Solicitor General clears Delhi government's proposal for pollution checks for motorists.

Counter View, October 5th, 2014
Modi's smart cities: Top urban planner wonders if one can have islands of prosperity amidst ocean of poverty.

Power Engineering, October 3rd, 2014
China and Japan drive resurgence in clean energy investment.

The Telegraph, October 3rd, 2014
Scotland power shortage warning as coal plant faces closure.

Air Quality News, October 3rd, 2014
Nissan mural highlights London car pollution.

Inquirer, October 3rd, 2014
Amid dirty Metro air, group raises doubts over emission test centers.

One India, October 3rd, 2014
Clean India movement should also clean the air.

Times of India, October 3rd, 2014
Coal shortage leads to power cuts in rural areas.

Economic Times, October 3rd, 2014
Coal stocks at 56 thermal plants critical, says Central Electricity Authority.

India Today, October 3rd, 2014
Government denies 2014 a drought year despite high rain deficit.

Times of India, October 2nd, 2014
Coal shortage likely to result in power cuts across Maharashtra.

Eco Business, October 1st, 2014
'Strictest' air pollution laws introduced in Shanghai.

Medical Daily, September 30th, 2014
Avoiding Air Pollution Key To Reducing Asthma Symptoms; Changing Lifestyle Yields Dramatic Improvement.

Times of India, October 1st, 2014
Centre to help Madhya Pradesh (India) improve performance of thermal power plants.

Phys.Org, October 1st, 2014
Fall in monsoon rains driven by rise in air pollution.

Times of India, October 2nd, 2014
Avoid air pollution to manage asthma.

Tempo, October 1st, 2014
Metro Manila’s air pollution.

UK Independent, October 1st, 2014
A onesie that purifies polluted air? Beijing Design Week exhibits wearable filter BB.Suit 2.0.

Medical Express, September 30th, 2014
Expect 6,000 more Australian deaths if pollution rises to 'safe' threshold.

Down to Earth, September 30th, 2014
Coal quandary in India.

Wall Street Journal, September 29th, 2014
China Wants to Know Why Foreigners Are Fleeing Beijing.

Bloomberg, September 29th, 2014
Smog Clouds Shanghai’s Drive to Become Global Financial Center.

Global Post, September 29th, 2014
When this Chinese city got serious about improving air quality its air quality improved.

Deccan Chronicle, September 28th, 2014
Air pollution touching critical levels in city.

Down To Earth, September 28th, 2014
Message to India from UN: empower city mayors to curb emissions.

NY times, September 26th, 2014
Who Made That Charcoal Briquette?

Business Standard, September 26th, 2014
Bhel to build two power plants in Telangana.

NPR, September 26th, 2014
Rethinking The Relationship Between Civilization And Nature.

The Energy Collective, September 25th, 2014
China Can Rise to the Challenge on Climate Change and Air Pollution.

Washington Post, September 25th, 2014
China’s smaller environmental footprint.

Xinhua Net, September 25th, 2014
Major pollutants drop in first half of year.

Nature Climate Change, September 25th, 2014
Mitigation and health: Climate policy not so costly.

Business Today, September 25th, 2014
The Coal Mess in India.

Watching Washington, September 24th, 2014
U.S. Clean Air Act cited as big first step in emissions control.

Science Daily, September 24th, 2014
Natural gas usage will have little effect on carbon dioxide emissions.

New York Times, September 24th, 2014
Emissions From India Will Increase.

Vietnam Net, September 24th, 2014
HCM City air pollution causes major health problems.

Business Standard, September 23rd, 2014
UP targets doubling power availability by 2016-17.

Cycling News, September 23rd, 2014
Tour of Beijing to stop after 2014.

Green Car Reports, September 22nd, 2014
Diesel Pollution In London Makes Air Worse Than Beijing For Nitrous Oxides.

Live Mint, September 22nd, 2014
New Emission Concerns in India.

NPR, September 22nd, 2014
Climate Activists Look For Solutions From Business, Diplomats.

Japan Times, September 20th, 2014
Liberalizing the power market.

Reuters, September 19th, 2014
China power plants exempt from ban on using low-quality coal.

Business Recorder, September 19th, 2014
Up in the air for Pakistan.

The Olive Press, September 19th, 2014
Spain warned to tackle ‘poor’ air pollution.

Economic Times, September 18th, 2014
NTPC eyes stake in overseas coal mines.

Phys.Org, September 18th, 2014
The causes of China's record level fine particulate pollution in winter 2013.

The Guardian, September 18th, 2014
High air pollution levels hit south-east England.

Humanosphere, September 17th, 2014
Silent killer: Visualizing air pollution.

World Coal, September 17th, 2014
China introduces coal import regulations.

New York Times, September 17th, 2014
Can the U.S. and China Find Harmony in Pursuing Climate Progress?

The City Fix, September 17th, 2014
How cities can save trillions, curb climate change, and improve public health.

New York Times, September 16th, 2014
U.S. Moves to Reduce Global Warming Emissions.

Wall Street Journal, September 16th, 2014
Indonesia Ratifies Regional Pollution Treaty as Haze Spreads to Neighbors.

New York Times, September 16th, 2014
Fixing Climate Change May Add No Costs.

The City Fix, September 16th, 2014
Can auto-rickshaw fare reform in Chennai lead users to choose sustainable transport?

Marine Link News, Setpember 15th, 2014IGCC System for Tokyo Electric Power.

Wooeb News, September 13th, 2014
EU is on track to achieve two of its 2020 environmental targets.

Power Engineering, September 9th, 2014
Asia urged to avoid “coal is cheap, let’s pollute” mentality.

Power Engineering, September 9th, 2014
Sustainability is about more than CO2 – it’s about economic growth.

Power Engineering, September 11th, 2014
Malaysia coal use to hit 40m tonnes a year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Delhi's Doctors say, "Diwali Crackers = Lung Cancer"

A large number of doctors in Delhi this year are appealing for a cracker-free Diwali. Advocating ‘No Diwali crackers, no lung cancer’ for the city this festival season, Dr. Niranjan Naik, senior Oncologist (surgeon) from Dharamshila Hospital said: “Firecrackers form a major part of our Diwali celebrations. These firecrackers are not only harming the environment, but also lead to serious health problems. The crackers emit the worst kind of gases and increase air pollution by 30 per cent. The toxic air is not only dangerous for those suffering from pulmonary diseases, but it also causes breathing problems in others.’’

Stating that crackers contain elements like copper, cadmium, sulphur, aluminium and barium, the physician explained that on bursting, crackers emit toxic chemicals and gases that remain suspended for a long time. 

“Breathing such toxic and fine particles in the firecracker smog can cause serious health problems such as risk of lung inflammation, asthma attacks and like symptoms. Exposure to the smoke and smog aggravates symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. Staying in Delhi NCR itself is a risk factor equivalent to smoking two cigarettes per day even if you are a non-smoker. It is strongly recommended that children, the elderly and people with lung or heart disease who are especially sensitive should stay indoors and close the windows to avoid breathing the smoke,’’ added Dr. Naik.

Read more @ the Hindu