Thursday, August 28, 2014

Garbage Burning Worsening Air Pollution Worldwide

Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records. A new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned in such fires, emitting gases and particles that can substantially affect human health and climate change. The new study provides the first rough estimates, on a country-by-country basis, of pollutants such as particulates, carbon monoxide, and mercury that are emitted by the fires. Such pollutants have been linked to serious medical issues. More @ UCAR

The study concluded that the fires produce emissions equivale
­­­nt to as much as 29 percent of officially reported human-related global emissions of small particulates (less than 2.5 microns in diameter), as well as 10 percent of mercury and 64 percent of a group of gases known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These pollutants have been linked to such significant health impacts as decreased lung function, neurological disorders, cancer, and heart attacks.

Trash burning in some countries accounts for particularly high quantities of certain types of pollutants. In China, for example, the emissions are equivalent to 22 percent of reported emissions of larger particles (those up to 10 microns in diameter).

The global impact on greenhouse gas emissions appears to be less, though still significant, with burning trash producing an amount of carbon dioxide equal to an estimated 5 percent of reported human-related emissions. (By comparison, the Kyoto Protocol strove for a global 5 percent cut among industrialized countries in greenhouse-gas emissions derived from fossil fuels.) In certain developing countries—such as Lesotho, Burundi, Mali, Somalia, and Sri Lanka—the trash burning produces more carbon dioxide than is tallied in official inventories. This discrepancy can be important in international negotiations over reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Title: Global Emissions of Trace Gases, Particulate Matter, and Hazardous Air Pollutants from Open Burning of Domestic Waste
Authors: Christine Wiedinmyer, Robert J. Yokelson, and Brian K. Gullett
Publication: Environmental Science and Technology
doi: 10.1021/es502250z

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Household Air Pollution Intervention Tool 'HAPIT'

Professor Kirk Smith's Research Group at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a simple, web-based tool (Household Air Pollution Intervention Tool 'HAPIT') to allow policy-makers, donors, non-governmental organizations, project developers, and researchers to quickly compare the impacts of various cooking technologies on human health at the national level.

The tool facilitates easy-to-use impact comparisons by combining data and calculations from several sources. Health impacts are estimated by using recent findings from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease report results, including the latest exposure-response relationships caused by household air pollution for child pneumonia, heart disease, and other diseases. The tool also derives simple cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit estimates based on the World Health Organization WHO-CHOICE methods.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Global Glacier Mass Lost Due to Anthroporgenic Emissions

Published in Science - Abstract - The ongoing global glacier retreat is affecting human societies by causing sea-level rise, changing seasonal water availability, and increasing geohazards. Melting glaciers are an icon of anthropogenic climate change. However, glacier response times are typically decades or longer, which implies that the present-day glacier retreat is a mixed response to past and current natural climate variability and current anthropogenic forcing. Here, we show that only 25 ± 35% of the global glacier mass loss during the period from 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. Nevertheless, the anthropogenic signal is detectable with high confidence in glacier mass balance observations during 1991 to 2010, and the anthropogenic fraction of global glacier mass loss during that period has increased to 69 ± 24%.

Mercury Pollution Trippled in Oceans Since 1850's

Globally, oceans contain roughly 60,000 to 80,000 tons of mercury pollution, according to a report published this week in Nature detailing the first direct calculation of mercury pollution in the world's oceans. Ocean waters shallower than about 300 feet (100 meters) have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution, the study found, and mercury in the oceans as a whole has increased roughly 10 percent over pre-industrial times. North Atlantic waters showed the most obvious signs of mercury pollution, since surface waters there sink to form deeper water flows. In contrast, the tropical and Northeast Pacific were relatively unaffected. "We don't know what that means for fish and marine mammals, but likely that some fish contain at least three times more mercury than 150 years ago," and possibly more, lead researcher Carl Lamborg of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said. "The next 50 years could very well add the same amount we've seen in the past 150." This article @ Yale 360

Abstract from the Nature magazine

Mercury is a toxic, bioaccumulating trace metal whose emissions to the environment have increased significantly as a result of anthropogenic activities such as mining and fossil fuel combustion. Several recent models have estimated that these emissions have increased the oceanic mercury inventory by 36–1,313 million moles since the 1500s. Such predictions have remained largely untested owing to a lack of appropriate historical data and natural archives. Here we report oceanographic measurements of total dissolved mercury and related parameters from several recent expeditions to the Atlantic, Pacific, Southern and Arctic oceans. We find that deep North Atlantic waters and most intermediate waters are anomalously enriched in mercury relative to the deep waters of the South Atlantic, Southern and Pacific oceans, probably as a result of the incorporation of anthropogenic mercury. We estimate the total amount of anthropogenic mercury present in the global ocean to be 290 ± 80 million moles, with almost two-thirds residing in water shallower than a thousand metres. Our findings suggest that anthropogenic perturbations to the global mercury cycle have led to an approximately 150 per cent increase in the amount of mercury in thermocline waters and have tripled the mercury content of surface waters compared to pre-anthropogenic conditions. This information may aid our understanding of the processes and the depths at which inorganic mercury species are converted into toxic methyl mercury and subsequently bioaccumulated in marine food webs.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Curbing Coal Consumption in Beijing

Beijing is stepping up its efforts to improve its air quality – even cracking down on outdoor barbecues, which are illegal under regulations covering air pollution control. But it is the city’s changing attitudes to its coal-fired power plants that are likely to have most impact in its battle against the smog. Read the article @ World Coal

According to Reuters, China’s capital has cut its coal use by 7% this year and will ban the fuel altogether by 2020, switching to cleaner, natural gas-fired plants. Last month, the city government also announced it would enforce a ban on the use of high-sulfur coal – the first time such broad controls have been implemented in the Asian giant.

The government has also announced plans to integrate Beijing with the surrounding province of Hebei, where much of the pollution that clouds the city’s skies originates, and the port city of Tianjin. The three areas will be treated as a single entity when it comes to pollution control, with unified industrial and emissions standards.

The region had already agreed to cut coal use by 63 million t this year with the bulk of that – 40 million t – to come from Hebei.

World Bank Proposes More Support for Coal-fired Power Plants in Africa

“We are very sensitive to the idea that Africa deserves to have power,” Kim said, referring to the possibility of supporting coal projects. “There’s never been a country that has developed with intermittent power.”

Read more @ Power Engineering

This represents a further softening towards financing coal. Last year this was ruled out except “where there are no feasible alternatives available to meet basic energy needs and other sources of financing are absent.”

Bloomberg reports that Africa is experiencing an “almost energy apartheid,” where two-thirds of the population lacks access to power, Kim said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the Africa Business Forum in Washington.

He added that investment will be made in renewables sources as much as possible. He had one proviso: “But at the same time, we’ve got to respect the Africans’ demand for access to power.”

The World Bank also used the forum to announce that it will be committing $5bn to boost electricity generation in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

Energy shortages are a major obstacle to growth in Africa, with about 70 per cent of the population lacking electricity, according to the International Energy Agency.

Barack Obama’s administration has proposed a Power Africa programme, which still requires action by Congress. It is a five-year, $7bn plan to double access to power in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Cost of Doing Nothing Towards Climate Change

This past May was the hottest on record ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The average surface temperature around the world was almost 1°C above its average last century, and Alaska almost 2°C over its average. There’s no denying that climate change is already happening, so the question we need to start asking ourselves now is how is this going to impact our lives, and how can we prepare? Astute business analysts are asking the obvious question: how is this going to impact our economy?

A new study highlighted by The Economist magazine looks at precisely this question and tries to calculate the economic cost of climate change. Examining everything from the threat of rising sea levels to coastal real-estate (from Miami to New York City), the economic impact on farming (from increased temperatures and decreased precipitation), to the economic impact of increasingly erratic weather patterns on businesses, homeowners and farming, The Economist takes an in-depth look at what climate change is going to mean for business in the coming decades. Read more @ Inhabitat

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Air Pollution News & Alerts - August 7th, 2014

The Guardian, August 8th, 2014
What’s driving millions of dollars back into energy efficiency?

New York Times, August 7th, 2014
Only 9 Chinese Cities Pass Clean Air Test.

Inhabitat, August 7th, 2014
China to Ban Burning Coal in Beijing by 2020.

Japan Times, August 6th, 2014
Japan, Ukraine to boost cooperation on energy security.

Times of India, August 6th, 2014
India-Myanmar meet on joint power project.

ECNS, August 6th, 2014
Cities falling short of air standards.

Power Technology, August 6th, 2014
World Bank to invest $5bn for electricity projects in Africa.

Science Daily, August 6th, 2014
Mercury in the global ocean: three times more mercury in upper ocean since the Industrial Revolution.

The City Fix, August 6th, 2014
Sustainable urban transport solutions worth spreading.

AU News, August 5th, 2014
Beijing to close coal-burning power stations to clean up air pollution.

Science Daily, August 5th, 2014
Interaction of climate change, fire and forests in USA.

Phys.Org, August 4th, 2014
Sulfur signals in Antarctic snow reveal clues to climate, past and future.

Phys.Org, August 4th, 2014
Climate change or public health: Which matters more?

The City Fix, August 4th, 2014
Regulation can help e-rickshaws transform urban mobility across India.

Indian Express, August 2nd, 2014
Take stand on e-rickshaw in Delhi.

NDTV, August 2nd, 2014
Delhi: Steps to Curb Air and Water Pollution.

Hindustan Times, August 2nd, 2014
Delhi: 11,000 more buses, ring railway to help reduce air pollution.

Crienglish, August 2nd, 2014
Beijing to Ban Coal Use to Cut Air Pollution.

Financial Express, August 2nd, 2014
India faced highest power shortage in last 3 months.

Times of India, August 2nd, 2014
Steps to check pollution in Delhi.

ECNS, August 1st, 2014
Coal usage in Beijing to be limited to low-sulfur variety.

Citizen Matters, August 1st, 2014
How you can contribute in reducing air pollution in Bengaluru.

World Coal, July 31st, 2014
World Bank should fund coal plant retrofits.

The Guardian, July 30th, 2014
Boris Johnson defends London's record on air pollution.

Times of India, July 30th, 2014
Depots missing, so capital can't buy more buses.

Digital Journal, July 29th, 2014
Global Clean Coal Technologies Market 2014-2018.

NDTV, July 29th, 2014
Climate Change Cooperation Can Start New Phase in Ties: John Kerry.

DNA India, July 29th, 2014
BRTS joint route set to be Asia’s biggest network.

NBC News, July 29th, 2014
Trees Save More Than 850 Lives a Year, Forest Service Study Says.

Deccan Chronicle, July 28th, 2014
Coal crunch hits power generation at two thermal power plants in Andhra Pradesh.

Shanghai Daily, July 26th, 2014
New air pollution law is ‘China’s strictest’.

Global Post, July 25th, 2014
Air quality tops public environmental complaints in China.

The Carbon Brief, July 25th, 2014
Europe’s coal plants could stay open despite air pollution rules.

Pollution Solutions, July 24th, 2014
China power plans 'worse for emissions than coal'.

New York Times, July 24th, 2014
China’s Plan to Limit Coal Use Could Spur Consumption for Years.

New York Times, July 23rd, 2014
Greenpeace Says China’s Energy Plans Exacerbate Climate Change.

Reuters, July 23rd, 2014
Beijing shuts big coal-fired power plant to ease smog.

Vietnam Net, July 23rd, 2014
Vietnam rushes to import coal to feed thermal power plants.

China Daily, July 22nd, 2014
Anti-smog gains marred by rising ozone levels.

City Lab, July 22nd, 2014
Geography Plays a Role in Whether People Believe in Climate Change.

Express and Star, July 22nd, 2014
UK coal plants slammed on pollution.

NPR, July 22nd, 2014
Maine City Council Votes To Keep Tar Sands Out Of Its Port.

NPR, July 22nd, 2014
University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town.

Science Daily, July 22nd, 2014
Global temperature reaches record high in June following record warmth in May.

Science Daily, July 21st, 2014
Replacing coal, oil with natural gas will not help fight global warming, expert argues.

The City Fix, July 21st, 2014
Congestion pricing can make Beijing a more equitable city.

Beijing Review, July 21st, 2014
The Burning Question - Waste incinerators, efficient at garbage disposal, are met with a skeptical public.

Zee News, July 21st, 2014
25 of 100 power plants have less than 4 days coal stock.

Mother Nature Network, July 21st, 2014
To fight unemployment, India to plant 2 billion trees.

Imperial Press, July 21st, 2014
Can dust mitigation efforts be relaxed?

Clean Technica, July 20th, 2014
India Doubles Tax On Coal To Fund Clean Energy, Environmental Projects.

Clean Technica, July 20th, 2014
India Doubles Tax On Coal To Fund Clean Energy, Environmental Projects.

NPR, July 17th, 2014
Google Experiments With Mapping Climate Change.

Times of India, July 17th, 2014
Metro Rail work adding to air pollution in Hyderabad, says Pollution Control Board.

Time, July 17th, 2014
A Side Effect of Iranian Sanctions: Tehran’s Bad Air.

Outlook, July 17th, 2014
Improper to Label Delhi As World's Most Polluted City.

Live Mint, July 17th, 2014
Coca-Cola pays its employees to breathe China’s polluted air.

Zee News, July 17th, 2014
Nearly 50% power plants have less than 7 days coal stock.

Live-PR, July 17th, 2014
EU is on track to achieve two of its 2020 environmental targets.

Yale 360, July 17th, 2014
Google Street View Maps Show Extent of Methane Leaks in Cities.

Economic Times, July 17th, 2014
Power ministry, regulators contemplate ways to develop renewable energy.

Economic Times, July 16th, 2014
25 thermal power plants not complying with ash pond effluent.

Red orbit, July 16th, 2014
Ten Years After Launch, NASA’s Aura Mission Keeps On Providing Invaluable Data About Our Atmosphere.

Times of India, July 16th, 2014
Air you breathe claims 1,800 lives every year in Indore.

Hindustan Times, July 15th, 2014
Punjab imposes 12 hour power cut on small, medium industry.

Daily Times, July 15th, 2014
Transport sector declared major air polluter in Karachi.

People's Daily, July 15th, 2014
China's power plants punished for dirty tricks.

Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2014
Extra Pay for Pollution?

NPR, July 15th, 2014
Coal-Burning Power Plant To Give New Life To Texas Oil Field.

Times of India, July 15th, 2014
Air you breathe claims 1,800 lives every year.

Domain-B, July 15th, 2014
Smartphone sensor to monitor air pollution.

USA Today, July 14th, 2014
A Chinese air pollution play -- maybe.

Coal Guru, July 14th, 2014
Beijing will require use of low-sulfur coal from August 2014 - Report.

New Pakistan, July 14th, 2014
World Bank Reveals Pakistan’s Urban Air Pollution Problems.

Dawn, July 14th, 2014
Pakistan’s urban air pollution off the charts: World Bank.

Power Engineering, July 14th, 2014
Energy Study Finds States Are Prepared to Limit Carbon Pollution From Power Plants.

Times of India, July 14th, 2014
Coca Cola China offering expats pollution hazard pay.

Business Standard, July 13th, 2014
Smart electric cars to measure air pollution.

The World Bank, July 10th, 2014
Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries.

Process Engineering, July 4th, 2014
Improved carbon capture scrubbing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Duke University and TERI Researching Cook Stove Usage in Uttarakhand

Smart Cities vs. Smart Citizens

Technology is only a means to improving the quality of life in India's urban areas. Vision and integrity are much more important. More @

The promise to build 100 new "smart cities" was among the items on the election manifesto that swept the Modi government into office. But if India’s wave of urbanisation is to deliver the highest quality of life for city dwellers, the country needs more than just the technological jargon that is being bandied about.

37 Indian cities in the top 100 world cities with worst air pollution

One thing is clear: India’s existing top 50 cities and urban agglomerations would be completely capable of providing a comfortable living environment to a significant proportion of the country's population if they are governed with sincerity. When there is integrity, the right technological solutions flow effortlessly. But today, Indian cities are prevented from meeting the needs of residents by the complete lack of transparency in the way they are governed. Public money is squandered on projects without accountability and there are blatant manipulations of urban policies to benefit vested interests.

For the decade or more that I have been involved with urban issues in Mumbai as an activist, there has been no improvement in the quality of life. It is the same tale of woe across India's other metros. To begin with, citizens must acknowledge that they bear some responsibility for the plight in which they find themselves. In my interactions with city dwellers around India, I have found a singular lack of understanding about how municipal corporations function, how their budgets work, the role of various committees that take decisions on city issues and the way these committees sanction public money for projects.

Civil society members are squeamish about discussing the conduct of elected representatives and senior officials who take decisions because they want to avoid personal confrontations and hope that things will somehow change if they talk in terms of generalities. The understanding of public policy is far worse. Even the well educated know little about the numerous ways in which the working of a city can be distorted through decisions on land use, and through the kind of transport that the authorities encourage. Politicians are perfectly happy with such residents, because they are easily swayed by "smart" rhetoric.

Mumbai's pathetic roads are a good example. You cannot drive for two minutes without having to slow down on a bumpy stretch. Year after year, crores of rupees of public money are spent on filling potholes and fixing broken stretches, which reappear in no time. Since 2008, the city’s municipal corporation has spent Rs 4,000 crore on building new roads; last year, it spent Rs 70 crore on fixing potholes. Here, too, the word "smart" gets bandied about. There is an entire lexicon relating to various technologies to fix potholes, and machines from Germany and Austria that can be imported.

Then there are vendors who offer to sell smart IT solutions to monitor traffic congestion using GPS, and data from cell towers and cameras. But these solution-providers are not concerned with the road department and how it functions. There is no integrated, unified planning for transport in the city. Every cartel finds its own niche in controlling a part of the public's money and seeks to leverage their control.

The latest fancy idea of politicians and bureaucrats is to develop a 36-km road along Mumbai’s western coast at a cost of Rs 9,000 crore, which they are touting as the ultimate solution to the city’s traffic congestion problems. To blunt opposition from groups advocating sustainable transport solutions, the same bureaucrats who sabotaged a bus rapid transport system for Mumbai are promising that they will run such a system on this corridor.

The truly smart solution, it would seem, would be to keep the city's 2,000-km of road network in good shape and improve throughput by a minimum of 20% from the same street rather than spend Rs 9,000 crore on a 36-km coastal highway. The US is now realising what a public finance nightmare it is to generate funds for renewing the highways and flyovers that looked so smart in the 1960s. In the 21st century, "smart" ought to be defined as learning from the mistakes of the 20th century. Smart is what is happening in Europe today, where the top 50 cities are building incredibly rich infrastructure or public transport and non-motorised transport. This involves choosing the right technology but is driven by a smart vision founded on a strong base of integrity.

A smart city is one that has mixed land use that sets residential and commercial establishments in the same areas, and sustainable mobility. It is a place where vision comes before technology, as technocrats from the European Union emphasised repeatedly at a conference organised in July by Mumbai First, an industry lobby group that aims to make Mumbai a “world-class” city. The EU experts had been flown in to give Indian bureaucrats insights about how to deal with the city's waste and tackle other environmental problems. Not surprisingly, the India bureaucrats were looking only for technology and did not care about the need for a vision.

In the current climate, many believe anything smart is a function of technology, of big spending, of vendors who can supply the right gadgets and of IT-enabled services. But if our cities are to be smart, what we really need are smart citizens.

Author - Rishi Aggarwal is a noted environmental and urban issues activist in Mumbai. He is a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Re-Fueling Road Transport for Better Air Quality in Indian Cities

Journal Article @ Energy Policy

Road transport in India plays a vital role in our growing economy. Given an aggressive vehicle sales outlook through 2030, in order to maintain a balance between the energy demand, growing on-road emissions, and overall air quality in the cities, there is a need to implement and enforce Bharat-5 standards (equivalent of Euro-V) nationwide by 2015. Any delay in its implementation or even staggered implementation of the standards will result in a delayed response for improving air quality in the Indian cities.

e-Rickshaws Need Better Integration to Support Para-transit Systems in Indian Cities

From the City Fix - As one of the most widely used forms of intermediate public transport or paratransit – services that connect users to mass transport systems like buses or metro – auto-rickshaws are ubiquitous in Indian cities. The electric rickshaw (e-rickshaw), however, emerged as an even cheaper alternative in 2011. E-rickshaws are similar to a motorcycle combined with a rickshaw, and have immense potential to provide low-cost mobility to many of India’s residents. However, cities need to create safety regulations and build appropriate infrastructure to make sure this transport mode is simultaneously affordable and safe.

E-rickshaws serve as an important form of transport primarily around the expanding Delhi metro area. Over 1,500 e-rickshaws reportedly hit Delhi’s streets in 2013 and an additional 90,000 have been added in the first half of 2014.

E-rickshaws are cheaper to buy and operate than auto-rickshaws, and rising fuel prices have made them even more attractive compared to vehicles that run on petrol or natural gas. E-rickshaws cost about half as much as conventional rickshaws at about RS 85,000 (around USD 1,400), while conventional auto-rickshaws cost about RS 1.68 lakh (around USD 2,750).

Cities can create more appropriate regulations by amending the Delhi Motor Vehicles Act of 1993 to ensure that e-rickshaws are safer, and that road infrastructure safely accounts for their use.

Making sure that e-rickshaws are safe requires starting with quality assurance, from inspecting body parts’ load capacity, tires, brake equipment, and turning radius. These inspections should be carried out for new and existing vehicles. People who drive e-rickshaws for the city should not be penalized if vehicle violations are detected, otherwise problems will never be reported. These policies will require the cooperation of drivers, manufacturers, and India’s Central Government to enforce such regulations.

Infrastructure must also change to support e-rickshaws. Proper charging stations must be installed around the city, and auto-mechanics must be taught how to handle problems specific to e-rickshaws. Charging stations can be integrated into existing fuel stations without placing a heavy burden on fuel-station owners. In fact, developing infrastructure to support e-rickshaws can help Indian cities. Batteries currently imported from China can be made locally to help bring money to India’s communities and lower the cost of batteries for e-rickshaw drivers.

Getting drivers and manufacturers to agree on policies and changing cities’ infrastructure to accommodate e-rickshaws will be enormously challenging. However, once Delhi and the Central Government tackle these challenges and improve safety, e-rickshaws have the potential to expand access to mobility in Indian cities and increase connectivity for residents.

Coal Tax Doubled in India to Fund Cleaner Energy Alternatives

22,000 MW solar power capacity by 2022, a dedicated national-level program for promoting wind energy generation, implementation of the world’s largest solar power projects (with capacity of up to 4,000 MW), covering canals with solar panels, implementing dedicated transmission corridors for distributing electricity from renewable energy projects, and cleaning one of the largest rivers in India. This is just a small list of initiatives that India plans to implement in the renewable energy and the environment protection sector. More @ Clean Technica

Such initiatives would require billions of dollars of investment. So India’s finance minister has decided to double the tax on every metric ton of coal mined or imported in the country. Coal mining companies and importers have paid ₹50 ($0.83) per metric of coal since 2010, this tax has now been increased to ₹100 ($1.67).

The revenue raised from this tax feeds to the National Clean Energy Fund. The fund was established to provide low-cost finance to renewable energy projects and the Green Corridors transmission project. According to media reports, the fund was no way near being utilised and had an unused corpus of ₹8,300 crore. With the new government planning to spend as much as ₹1,000 crore ($167 million) for projects earmarked for this financial year (ending March 2015), things could change rapidly.

The government has earmarked ₹500 crore for the initial implementation work for four ultra mega solar power projects, each with a capacity between 2,000 MW and 4,000 MW. Another ₹400 crore ($67 million) would be provided for installation of 100,000 solar-powered irrigation sets and water-pumping stations. The Prime Minister’s pet project, the canal-top solar power plant, would receive ₹100 crore ($17 million) this year.

The scope of expenditure from this fund has also been widened to include environmental projects and research and development projects in the clean energy and environment sectors. Probably for the first time in India’s history, a separate ministry for cleaning the Ganga river has been established. The Ganges has been on the receiving end of blatant abuse for several decades, threatening probably the single largest source of potable and irrigation water in India. Stating the Ganges is the lifeline of Bangladesh would probably a gross understatement. The aim is to clean rivers across the country and develop their banks as major tourist and pilgrimage spots.

India’s demand for coal is not likely to subside any time in the short to medium term — thus, this tax could raise massive amounts of revenue to boost India’s renewable energy and environmental protection sectors. According to some estimates, this tax could raise up to ₹7,400 crore ($1.2 billion) during a period of 12 months. This amount would only increase as the demand for coal in India has been increasing for several years.

"Forbidden Zones" for Coal Use in Beijing to Cut Air Pollution

Authorities in Beijing plan to set up a "forbidden zone" for the use of high-pollution fuels, a first-of-its-kind effort to improve air quality in the capital. The city will ban the use of coal and related products, closing coal-fired power plants and other facilities in its six main districts and neighboring regions, by the end of 2020. More @ CRIenglish

Clean energy alternatives like electricity and natural gas for heating, cooking, and other activities will be promoted instead. Liu Wei is the deputy director of the Atmospheric Environmental Management Division of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. "Alternating the use of coal mainly focused on urban districts. Now other districts except for Yanqing County have been able to switch to natural gas. We are also promoting the construction of electricity grids in these areas. We need support and effort from citizens, social departments, and the government, because using new energy requires some input, especially regarding price change." Liu also stresses the need to form a consensus on clean living and strengthen the supervision of the proposed measures.

This move is a part of the capital's plan to optimize energy use and improve air quality. Other high-pollution fuels, such as fuel oil, petroleum coke, combustible waste, and some biomass fuel will also be banned.

Chennai to Introduce 1200 New Buses in the City

The State Transport Corporations will get 1,200 new buses this year to replace the old ones under a major modernisation programme unveiled by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the Assembly on Thursday. The new buses would cost Rs. 253.80 crore. Read more @ The Hindu

Air pollution in Chennai, India

Mr. Jayalalithaa said that after the AIADMK came to power three years ago, it revamped the public transport system; at present, 20,684 buses were being operated. The government granted Rs. 38.91 crore for redeeming buses impounded by courts for accidents, and the corporations’ failure to pay victims compensation. It would now release another tranche of Rs. 39.73 crore in advance payment for redeeming 544 buses.

Dusty Roads in Chennai

She said 100 small buses were being operated in Chennai to link areas out of the public transport network. As the service evoked good response, the government decided to buy 100 more small buses at a cost of Rs 16.75 crore. 

Press Release: Better Air Quality = Better Cities

As many places in the State had grown on a par with the district headquarters, they required transport offices for vehicle registration and issue of driving licences, she said. 

Chennai City Needs More Monitoring Stations

New transport offices would be opened at Manmangalam, Usilampatti, Tiruttani and Cheyyar at a cost of Rs. 2.79 crore. The offices at Chidambaram and Tiruchendur would be upgraded as Regional Transport Offices.

Delhi to Introduce More Buses in the City

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Curbing Air Pollution in Bengaluru

In Bengaluru, vehicular pollution and dust are the major contributors to air pollution, and as listed earlier in this series, they cause several health and environmental problems. While the dust is mostly from construction activities, the air currents and constant vehicular motion keep the pollutants in circulation all the time.

There is no single solution to mitigate air pollution given the number of government agencies involved and the heterogenous mix of vehicle users and commuters. In this article, we look at the role individual road users play.

On an average, 6734 BMTC buses ferry 49,50,000 passengers in 79677 bus trips across the city. As on March 31st 2014, there were 50,50,057 vehicles registered in Bangalore city of which the two wheelers, cars and jeeps were 44,74,722. As a single unit, a two wheeler maybe adding a lower pollution load but the fact that there are as many as 34,79,208 two wheelers in the city means that collectively, two wheeler riders contribute to air pollution as much as or more than other vehicle users.

Our autophilia shows when a less populous India beats China in automobile travel according to a study, which also says there is no correlation between salary and car usage. Though the need for one to buy a vehicle may vary, one common reason is the convenience it provides - that of not being at the mercy of someone else when one needs to commute.

That being said, when the cons of driving individual vehicles, including increasing air pollution, traffic jams, fuel costs, ill-tempered motorists and reducing parking spots etc. are listed down, maybe it is time to take a step back and consciously make a decision to avoid being a part of the problem - thousands are doing it but there is no significant impact because a larger number are still using their own vehicles to commute.

Read more @ Citizen Matters

Delhi to Introduce More Buses in the City

We said it many times, that Delhi needs at least 3-4 times the current fleet. A commentary on air pollution in Delhi in EPW. Now an article below in Hindustan Times saying, Delhi plans to buy 11,000 more buses to meet the public transport demand.

Public Transport in Delhi has a Long Way to Go !!

The Delhi government has drawn up a plan to boost public transport by buying buses, building depots and asking Delhi Metro and Northern Railways to augment their services and provide last-mile connectivity. Prepared after a World Health Organisation report called Delhi the world’s most polluted city in May, the plan looks to reduce vehicular congestion and rising pollution by augmenting public transport.

Enrique Penalosa at the TEDCity2.0 Talking About the Importance of Buses and Public Transport in the Cities

A high-powered committee on pollution control formed by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has admitted that the existing depots do not have parking space for the current fleet of buses, while “Delhi plans to buy 11,000 more buses to meet demands”.

50 Children Treated Every Day for Respiratory Diseases in Delhi

The panel, headed by the Delhi chief secretary and has the transport commissioner as one of its members, has suggested building multi-level parking lots at existing depots. “Delhi Transport Corporation will buy 5,500 buses. The Delhi Development Authority and the revenue department will provide land. We will get 5,500 buses to be run in clusters by corporate entities. They will have their parking space spread across the national capital region,” said a panel member. The government has hired Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System to supervise cluster bus operations.

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The committee has asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to have eight coaches in all trains. Of the 208 trains running, 58 have eight coaches, the rest have six. By 2016, 130 trains will have eight coaches, it says. The transport department has been told to formulate strategies for introduction of more non-polluting battery-operated vehicles to provide last-mile connectivity. “We’re also asking Northern Railway to revive its Ring Railway network and integrate it with Metro and other feeder services,” the official said.

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The panel has asked the transport department to do a transport-need analysis, starting with Dwarka. “It should induct mini eco-friendly buses of 10-15 seats on purchase-hiring basis to ferry passengers from Metro stations.”Jung has accepted the report and asked officials to work in a mission mode.
While forming the committee Jung had said, “We cannot allow pollution to grow unchecked. It is our moral responsibility to provide a healthy environment to our citizens.” 

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This is, however, not the first time that such plans are being made. The government and Centre for Science and Environment sometime back made a five-year plan to improve Delhi’s air quality which is yet to be implemented. That action plan called for augmentation of the Capital’s bus fleet to 15,000 from the current 6,200 by 2014 and creation of 17 bus clusters and 4 Bus Rapid Transit corridors by 2016.