Sunday, May 30, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - May 30th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on May 23, 2010)

Times of India, May 29th, 2010
Patna City's air quality `dangerous'.

Science Daily, May 29th, 2010
Experts Gather as Volcanic Dust Settles.

Grist Magazine, May 28th, 2010
Hidden health costs of transportation.

GMA News, May 26th, 2010
Crimes, pollution, traffic hound living in Manila.

Indian Express, May 26th, 2010
Polluting Industrial Units Ordered to Close in Nangloi, Delhi, India.

Science Daily, May 26th, 2010
Discovery Simplifies View of Atmospheric Aerosols, a Factor in Climate Change.

Science Daily, May 26th, 2010
Better Way to Calculate Greenhouse Gas Value of Ecosystems.

Science Daily, May 26th, 2010
20th Century One of Driest in Nine Centuries for Northwest Africa.

Guardian, May 26th, 2010
EU carbon trading scheme failing to cut pollution, campaigners warn.

Guardian, May 25th, 2010
India discloses carbon emissions for first time in more than decade.

The City Fix, May 25th, 2010
Socially Responsible Business for India’s Auto Rickshaws.

Reuters, May 25th, 2010
UN urges rich to honor $30 billion climate aid pledge.

China, May 25th, 2010
Consequences of coal in China.

Science Daily, May 25th, 2010
Pollution Dispersion Research Aids Understanding of 2002 Break-Up of Antarctic Ozone Hole.

Times of India, May 24th, 2010
Delhi hikes road tax for luxury cars, high-end bikes.

Science Daily, May 24th, 2010
Straw Residue Helps Keep Nitrogen on the Farm.

The City Fix, May 24th, 2010
NyayaBhoomi: Champion for Delhi’s Auto Rickshaws.

RFF, May 12th, 2010
The Road to a Low-Carbon Energy Future.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Polluting Industrial Units Ordered to Close in Nangloi, Delhi, India

An article in Indian Express on May 26th, 2010, documents the efforts of local groups to close down polluting industrial units in Nangloi, an industrial area, West of Delhi, India (see map above). A total of 80 units have been shut down in the area.

The closure of polluting units in Nangloi village in the wake of a Delhi High Court order in March has brought to light that a large number of industries, totally prohibited within the Capital, were also operational in the area for years.

"The amount of dust and other particles in the air has come down,” said Rajeev, an advocate who lives in the area.

See more media reports on air pollution in Delhi.

More such actions will be necessary to achieve the goal of "clean air" for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. See how Beijing did it for 2008 Olympic Games.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - May 23rd, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on May 16, 2010)

Post Crescent, May 23rd, 2010
Wisconsin lacks coal, oil, natural gas, but not biomass.

Reuters, May 21st, 2010
EU struggles to find voice on environment issues.

Times of India, May 21st, 2010
Now, you can drive faster on Delhi roads.

NPR, May 21st, 2010
Obama Eyes Future Auto Fuel Standards.

Fiza News, May 21st, 2010
Urban air pollution causes 22,000 deaths annually across Pakistan.

Jakarta Post, May 20th, 2010
City proposes more car free days.

Jakarta Post, May 20th, 2010
Traffic police vulnerable to air pollution.

New York Times, May 20th, 2010
Urban Greatness Awaits Good Governance.

Huffington Post, May 20th, 2010
East Coast Greenway Grows Faster Than China.

Times of India, May 20th, 2010
Gas price doubled; petrol, diesel next on the menu?

Science Daily, May 20th, 2010
Particulate Air Pollution Affects Heart Health.

Times of India, May 19th, 2010
Setback to pollution control: No Euro IV bus, truck so far.

Vietnam Net, May 19th, 2010
Vietnam grows, and so does it’s challenges.

Earth Policy Institute, May 19th, 2010
Reclaiming the Streets.

Tree Hugger, May 19th, 2010
Reclaim the Streets, Put the Brakes on Car Traffic.

New York Times, May 19th, 2010
U.S. Science Body Urges Action on Climate.

All Africa, May 18th, 2010
Transporters Push for New Policies to Streamline Sector.

Chico ER, May 18th, 2010
A Burning Issue: Three case studies...

Fleet Owner, May 18th, 2010
Megacities, transportation, and you.

Malaysia Today, May 17th, 2010
'Indoor air kills 2.2 million young Chinese yearly'.

BBC, May 17th, 2010
Residents' fears over Australian mines.

Mid Day, May 17th, 2010
Look up and know the air Delhi breathes.

Wall Street Journal, May 17th, 2010
Can Dirt Do a Little Good?

BBC, May 15th, 2010
Urban pollution 'raises blood pressure'.

New York Times, May 13th, 2010
The E.P.A. Announces a New Rule on Polluters.

Friday, May 21, 2010

7 Measures Proposed by CSE for Better Air Quality During the 2010 Commonwealth Games

Following a half day workshop on May 10th, 2010, by Center for Science and Environment, where representatives form the government and academia were present to discuss options to better air quality during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, here is a list of 7 proposed measures
  1. Ensure procurement of buses and re-organization of public transport systems
  2. Advance BRT corridors, and the cycle and pedestrian ways
  3. Advance work on the bypass so that the truck traffic does not enter the city
  4. Take urgent steps for imposing congestion tax for controlling truck traffic within the city and increased parking charges for private cars so that there is restriction on travel
  5. Take steps to restrict private vehicle movement between cities – use of public transport to be encouraged
  6. Advance steps to control pollution from thermal power and industries
  7. Restrict private transport during the Games and take other steps to control pollution as part of contingency planning
Read their full press release here.

Also see

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An MS-Excel Based Calculator to Estimate Air Quality Index

What AQI does is unification of all the complicated science of pollution composition, exposure rate based health severity, ambient standards, and measurement and standard protocols, into simple color coded bins for everyone to see how good or bad or ugly the pollution levels are and understand the necessary alertness. 
More such questions are answered in SIM-series # 46-2021 - 10 frequently asked questions on Air Quality Index (AQI).


Version (01) calculates AQI for one time data using 7 methodologies - USA, EU, UK, India, China, South Korea, and Singapore 

Download the calculator here and see the video for instructions.

Version (02) calculates AQI for a large dataset using 7 methodologies - USA, EU, UK, India, China, South Korea, and Singapore, and presents a comparisons chart. 

Download the calculator here and see the video for instructions
Also see

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

State of the Air (2010) in USA

The American Lung Association's State of the Air 2010 report ranks the metropolitan areas by the levels of ozone and particle pollution during 2006, 2007 and 2008. For particle pollution, separate ranks for the areas with high year-round (annual average) levels and high short-term levels (24-hour) found in monitoring sites across the United States is estimated.

Data is from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compile the rankings. Each city includes all the counties that form the economic and transportation network that makes up the metropolitan area, as defined by the federal government. See the detailed report.

Most Polluted Cities - The cities are ranked by the air quality in the most polluted county in the metropolitan area. Click on the city name to open links to a chart of the trends for ozone and year-round particle levels, as well as more information about air pollution and the local Lung Association. Note that some cities have high levels of one pollutant and don’t show up on other lists.

Cleanest Cities - The cities on the cleanest cities lists for ozone and for short-term levels of particle pollution had no days with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. These lists are not ranked because all the cities earned the same scores. The cities on the list of the cleanest for year-round particle pollution levels are ranked by their average levels of particles, as calculated by the EPA. Note that some cities are clean for one category, but not for others.

PM10 Pollution @ Country Level

Data and report from the World Bank

Particulate Matter under 10 micron meter diameter are capable of penetrating deep into the respiratory tract and causing significant health damage.

Data for countries and aggregates for regions and income groups are urban-population weighted PM10 levels in residential areas of cities with more than 100,000 residents. The estimates represent the average annual exposure level of the average urban resident to outdoor particulate matter. The state of a country's technology and pollution controls is an important determinant of particulate matter concentrations.

See the data @

Source: Kiren Dev Pandey, David Wheeler, Bart Ostro, Uwe Deichmann, Kirk Hamilton, and Katherine Bolt. "Ambient PM in Residential and Pollution Hotspot Areas of World Cities: New Estimates Based on the Global Model of Ambient Particulates (GMAPS)," World Bank (2006).

Contact the authors for a copy of the report.

A comparison of pollution vs. population across urban centers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is presented below.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - May 16th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on May 09, 2010)

May, 2010
New York Sustainable Streets Index.

Center for Transport and Environment, May 2010
The Role of Integrated Planning in Developing Sustainable Transportation Strategies.

Center for Science & Environment, May 15th, 2010
Delhi agrees to use Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to address air quality concerns.

Hindustan Times, May 15th, 2010
Now, know the air you breathe.

Hindustan Times, May 15th, 2010
Govt ready to fight air pollution ahead of Games.

The Jakarta Post, May 15th, 2010
Jakarta should learn from other cities.

Pollution Online, May 14th, 2010
EPA, Shanghai Launch AirNow International.

St.Louis Today, May 14th, 2010
This smog season is up in the air.

Oroville MR, May 14th, 2010
A Burning Issue: Gasping for breath - Fires are like a smoke bomb for vulnerable people.

Science Daily, May 14th, 2010
Tiny Sensors Tucked Into Cell Phones Could Map Airborne Toxins in Real Time.

New York Times, May 13th, 2010
In India, Hitching Hopes on a Subway.

Global Times, May 13th, 2010
Car-sharing clubs can curb choking air and clogged streets.

The Guardian, May 13th, 2010
There's no right and wrong to tackling climate change.

DNA India, May 13th, 2010
This summer, don't expect to get a cool ride on a BRTS bus in Ahmedabad.

City Scope, May 13th, 2010
Singapore's Transportation Secrets.

Financial Times, May 12th, 2010
Q&A: Mark Jacobson on 100% renewable energy.

Financial Express, May 12th, 2010
Phasing-out of old cars from city streets of Dhaka.

Environmental Research Web, May 12th, 2010
Delhi congestion delimited.

May 12th, 2010
Serving the public interest in Cairo’s urban development.

CSR China, May 12th, 2010
Heavy smoke blackened the Sky in Lanzhou.

Hindustan Times, May 11th, 2010
Delhi may ban NCR vehicles during Games.

Science Daily, May 11th, 2010
Evidence Growing of Air Pollution's Link to Heart Disease, Death.

Hindustan Times, May 11th, 2010
Air’s the truth, Delhi air can turn you sick.

DNA India, May 10th, 2010
Air pollution could hit performance of athletes in Commonwealth Games.

The Star, May 10th, 2010
Delhi’s air pollution may take athletes’ breath away.

The Tribune, May 10th, 2010
Green Games: Delhi has lots of cleaning to do Pollution levels rising, could hit athletes’ performance.

Express India, May 10th, 2010
In 3 years, many more coaches to handle the rush in Mumbai.

Hindustan Times, May 10th, 2010
Air pollution could hit performance of athletes in CWG.

News Observer, May 10th, 2010
EPA, Shanghai launch real-time air quality monitor.

The Diplomat, May 10th, 2010
China Power - Environmental Health.

Asia One News, May 9th, 2010
Roadside pollution soars in Hong Kong.

Economic Times, May 9th, 2010
UN praise for India's pollution monitoring system for Commonwealth Games.

CPCB, India, March 2010
Status of the vehicular pollution control programme in India.

BBC, May 3rd, 2007
Air pollution suffocates Calcutta.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Singapore's Transportation Secrets !!

by Christian Tan, for CityScope

More vehicles, more trips, more people -- but gridlock remain a rarity. What gives?

Singapore Singapore is a city on the move. Literally. Furiously. In cars. In buses. On rail lines. At rates of expansion that would make most transport executives blanch.

More and more people are moving - all the time. Three decades ago, they made 2.7 million daily trips. Now it's more than 11 million - in cars, buses and trains. Yet Singapore has little of the congestion that almost paralyzes so many cities around the world.

What's the secret? It's simple. Early planning. Timely action. Massive investment across many modes of transport.

Density without gridlock

Not that Singapore's situation is simple. This sovereign state is just 710 square kilometers -- a bit bigger than New York City. It has 5 million people -- more than double its population 30 years ago. Now, close to 1 million vehicles (of which 40,000 are from across the Malaysian border) zip around in a network of well-paved roads spanning 3,400 kilometers.

And in contrast to neighboring cities such as Jakarta, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur - and indeed, farther flung examples such as London, Paris and Los Angeles -- gridlock is a rarity in Singapore.

This is despite growing car ownership. Back in 1981, there were 163,355 passenger cars here. Today, there are 570,000. Yet Singapore's average car speed on arterial (main) roads during peak hours is 27 kmh (17 miles per hour), compared to as low as 16 kmh in London, 11 kmh in Tokyo and 5 kmh in Jakarta.

Clues to the formula

So, how has Singapore managed this seemingly text book success story on urban mobility?

Mr. Lew Yii Der, group director for policy and planning of the country's Land Transport Authority (LTA), says the the recipe "boils down to two important ingredients: a convenient and well-connected public transport network, and an effective set of demand management measures to regulate traffic flow and keep road congestion in check."

As a relatively young nation (gaining independence in 1965), Singapore's bureaucracy of scholars and technocrats had the advantage of learning from older, more established cities. Urban planning soon became the government's forte, and transport infrastructure a cornerstone of development.

Expanding on a blueprint drawn by the country's British colonial masters, policy makers began to build new roads -- lots of them. Starting in the early 1970s, Singapore opened the first of what today is a network of nine expressways crisscrossing the island, including such technological marvels as a 12-km long, largely underground expressway opened two years ago, and an upcoming (in 2013) link that not only goes underground but undersea.

But like all other modern cities, roads are rarely sufficient to move the masses. Singapore opened its first rail transit line -- 6 kilometers, five stations - in 1987. Today, the rail network spans over 150 km (94 miles), with 106 stations serving four mass rapid transit lines (one partially opened) and three light rail transit lines.

Major added investment -- $40 billion in Singapore dollars (U.S. $28.4 billion) -- is committed to expanding rail lines to 280 km by 2020.

With this ambitious expansion, the current balance in Singapore's average daily trips of 11 million (6 million by private transport, 3 million by bus and 2 million by rail) is likely to shift significantly toward public transit (even with some additional roads).

LTA Rail Group Director Mr. Chua Chong Kheng recalls: "Since the first steps were taken... on Oct 22, 1983, the government has invested heavily to ensure that the rail network form the backbone of an efficient public transport system."

Key ingredient: congestion pricing

Policymakers recognized early, in fact, that that a country as small and dense as Singapore cannot rely solely on road expansion. Demand for road space must be held in check. And the best way to do that, they discovered, are user charges.

Literally decades ahead of European cities, Singapore in 1977 instituted an "Area Licensing System" featuring stiff fees for any car entering downtown Singapore during business hours. In 1998, this congestion pricing system went high-tech with an electronic road-pricing system that requires any vehicle in Singapore (as well as those coming in from Malaysia) be fitted with a stored-value card reader.

As a car passes any of the city's 69 gantries (electronic checkpoints), the card reader charges a fee, which varies significantly depending on time of day. For someone driving into the city during the morning rush hour, tolls across multiple gantries often add up to S$10 a day.

Following Singapore's lead, congestion pricing for traffic-clogged cities has since been adopted by London, Oslo, Stockholm, and Milan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also proposed the idea in New York City, but was overruled by the New York State Legislature.

Also key: paying for the right to use a vehicle

Singapore in 1990 inaugurated a second method for keeping auto use in check. Anyone who wants to buy a vehicle must first secure a "Certificate of Entitlement," valid for 10 years. Certificates are auctioned off twice a month.

The price today hovers around S$20,000 in Singapore dollars, but it has been as high as S$110,000. On top of that, Singapore motorists pay 44 cents in duty for every liter of fuel they use (roughly $1.75 a gallon in the U.S.).

Pulling it off

But how has Singapore managed to implement controversial policies such as congestion pricing and the expensive auto "certificates of entitlement" when several other cities have tried launching similar systems but failed?

A unified local government with strong leadership has surely been a major factor.

But there have also been persuasive politics. The LTA, for example, softened the blow of the auto certificates of entitlement by lowering car registration taxes which had previously been a stunning 200 percent of the value of new vehicle. And trains and buses have relieved the crush on the roads -- "an effective public transport system that is a viable alternative" to driving, in the words of LTA Director of Road Operations Dr. Chin Kian Keong (who was also one of the authors of the road pricing system).

Observers do not disagree that the public transport system is on the whole effective. But they point out that commuter complaints about packed trains and long bus arrivals have grown louder in recent years, largely because of Singapore's population growth.

Not only that, road traffic has grown noticeably heavier in the past five years.

The city has initiated a slew of responses, including higher driving charges, more frequent train service, more bus lanes -- plus the S$50 billion worth of rail and road projects scheduled for completion by 2020.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim has an ambitious goal: to increase the percentage of public transit trips during morning rush hours from 59 percent in 2008 to 70 percent in the next 10 years. To do this, he acknowledges that public transport has to be as convenient and nearly as speedy as driving.

Analysts applaud the efforts, but some say more needs to be done immediately. Transport researcher Dr. Lee Der Horng, an associate at the National University of Singapore, says: "I am concerned by the peak-hour capacity on our public transport system, and the increased congestion levels on our roads."

Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak, who also heads a policy-monitoring committee, believes Singapore may face a serious transport crunch if not more is done between now and 2020. "We have an acute problem now that needs fast solutions in the short and medium term," he notes.

Despite the complaints, a Gallup world poll of 20 cities in 2008 found that Singaporeans were the most satisfied with their public transport system. Whether they will still be so in the next few years remains to be seen.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - May 9th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on May 02, 2010)

State of the Air, May, 2010
State of the Air in US.

Deccan Herald, May 9th, 2010
No breathing room in Bangalore.

Financial Express, May 9th, 2010
Phasing-out of old cars from city streets.

Financial Express, May 8th, 2010
BRTC to launch first major city bus service in decade in Dhaka.

Science Daily, May 7th, 2010
Those Living Near Highway and Railroad Intersections More Likely to Develop Asthma.

Science Daily, May 6th, 2010
255 Members of the National Academy of Sciences Defend Climate Science Integrity.

New York Times, May 5th, 2010
How Much Do We Really ‘Spare the Air’?

Shanghai Daily, May 5th, 2010
Bureau to issue air quality reports.

AFP, May 5th, 2010
Hong Kong roadside pollution soars to record highs.

Science Daily, May 3rd, 2010
NASA Study Sheds Light on Ozone Hole Chemistry.

Business Week, May 3rd, 2010
Hong Kong Air Pollution Has Two Worst Quarters Ever.

China Daily, April 29th, 2010
City moves to clean up the air in public buildings.

Global Nation, April 28th, 2010
Philippines dirty jeepneys starting to turn green., April 22nd, 2010
Fuel-Efficient Stoves Aim To Cut Smog.

Guardian, April 21st, 2010
National carbon calculator.

China Daily, April 13th, 2010
Polluting firms to make way for Asian Games.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - May 2nd, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on April 25, 2010)

Reuters, April 30th, 2010
Emissions fears grow as Indian car sales rise in Jammu & Kashmir.

NPR, April 30th, 2010
Meeting The Nation's Bioenergy Goals.

Science Daily, April 30th, 2010
U.S. Could Eliminate CO2 Emissions from Coal in 20 Years.

Science Daily, April 30th, 2010
Carbon, Nitrogen Link May Provide New Ways to Mitigate Pollution Problems.

Science Daily, April 30th, 2010
More Trouble Ahead from Volcanic Ash?

Nepali Times, April 30th, 2010
Lost in the smog.

LiveMint, April 29th, 2010
Freight corridor aims to host smart cities.

Wine Times, April 29th, 2010
Air Quality Worsening In Chile’s Capital.

Science Daily, April 29th, 2010
Study Gives Green Light to Plants’ Role in Global Warming.

The Economist, April 29th, 2010
Australia and carbon emissions - A change in the climate.

Bloomberg, April 29th, 2010
Hong Kong ‘Very High’ Pollution Causes Health Warning.

Baltimore Sun, April 28th, 2010
Baltimore area air gets better, but still falls short.

Science Daily, April 28th, 2010
Analyzing Biofuel Sources and Predicting Effects on Water, Soil and the Atmosphere.

Science Daily, April 28th, 2010
One Billion Euros to Unleash the Power of Information.

Science Daily, April 28th, 2010
Mexico City Air Pollution Adversely Affects the Hearts of Young People.

Bloomberg, April 27th, 2010
Hong Kong Air Pollution Index Tops 100 in Central District.

Las Vegas Sun, April 26th, 2010
New wave of solar plants could worsen air quality.

Environment HK, April 26th, 2010
Mainland sandstorm under close watch.

NPR, April 25th, 2010
Could Cleaner Air Actually Intensify Global Warming?

Green Peace, April 23rd, 2010
China: why coal takes more than it gives.

Science Daily, April 22nd, 2010
Ozone and Traffic Pollution Increase Asthma-Related Hospitalizations in Children.

China Daily, April 21st, 2010
Is low carbon in our long-term interest?

BNet, April 20th, 2010
Researchers Harness Algae to Generate Electricity.