Saturday, March 29, 2014

Infographic - Comparing Air Pollution and Actions in Beijing and Delhi

Improving public health and the vitality of the environment will require decision makers to get serious about monitoring and reporting standards. We hope that one outcome of all this debate over air quality in China versus India will be increased public pressure for governments to follow China in providing more accessible, transparent and complete data on air quality.

Link to the article (and infographic) on Scientific American.

"Wipe Away" Air Pollution from the Photos - An App Funded by WWF

What's the point?

Link to the article on Campaign Asia.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

7 Million Dead in 2012 due to Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution

Air pollution has become the world's single biggest environmental health risk, linked to around 7 million – or nearly one in eight deaths in 2012 – according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Link to the article in the Guardian.

The new figures are more than double previous estimates and suggest that outdoor pollution from traffic fumes and coal-burning, and indoor pollution from wood and coal stoves, kills more people than smoking, road deaths and diabetes combined.

Press release from World Health Organization

Around 80% of the 3.7 million deaths from outdoor pollution came as a result of stroke and heart disease, 11% from lung diseases and 6% from cancers. The vast majority were in Asia, with 180,000 in the Americas and Europe combined, said the WHO.

Indoor air pollution led to 4.3 million deaths, of which 34% were caused by strokes, 26% heart diseases and 12% respiratory disease in children. Only 19,000 of these deaths were in rich countries, with the vast majority being in low- and middle-income countries. Because many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution, the WHO said deaths attributed to the two sources cannot be added together.

"The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes," said Maria Neira, director of WHO's department for public health, environmental and social determinants of health. "Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe."

South-east Asia, said the WHO, is now the most polluted region in the world, with 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution. This reflects the explosive growth of cities and industrial development in China and India, as well as continuing deep poverty in rural areas.

The new estimates are based not on an significant increase in pollution, but on improved knowledge of the links between air pollutants and heart diseases and cancers, in addition to known links with respiratory diseases. A 2008 WHO report estimated that outdoor pollution led to about 1.3 million deaths, while about 1.9 million people were killed by indoor pollution. A Lancet study last year suggested that the surge in car use in south and east Asia killed 2.1 million people prematurely in 2010. Last year, WHO's cancer agency classified air pollution as a carcinogen, linking dirty air to lung and bladder cancer.

"Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents non-communicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly," said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general of family, women and children's health. "Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves."

Martin Williams, professor of air quality at the environmental research group, King's College London, said: "This is an important study, and although the majority of attributable deaths occur in south-east Asia and the western Pacific, air pollution impacts on mortality and health are still a significant public health problem in Europe, including the UK."

Air pollution is increasingly linked with ill health and deaths in rich countries as traffic emissions rise. In the US, air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths a year, with emissions from cars and trucks causing 53,000 and power generation 52,000, according to MIT's environment laboratory. California suffers most from air pollution, with 21,000 early deaths.

In Europe, poor air quality is the top environmental cause of premature deaths in the EU, causing more than 100,000 premature deaths a year and costing from £300bn-£800bn a year in extra health costs, said Janez Potočnik, the EU environment commissioner.

Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK and similar numbers in France and Germany.

Air Pollution in Ludhiana - Patients with Respiratory Problems Tripled in 10 years

The price of being a prosperous, industrial city could be a few years of residents' lives. According to Rohini Pande, professor of public policy and author of the paper, the data is based on ambient air quality measured by SPM (suspended particulate matter) in 180 Indian cities. She said the level of pollution in Ludhiana is twice the national standard and more than six times the standard recommended by World Health Organization. Ludhiana has 60 micrograms per cubic metre of SPM as compared to WHO recommendation of 25 micrograms per cubic metre.

Link to the article in Times of India.

According to WHO figures of 2011, Ludhiana was the most polluted city in India with 251 micrograms per cubic meter of particulate matter (PM10) followed by Kanpur (209) and Delhi (198).

Top 100 cities with the worst air quality (WHO, 2011)

"According to the data with us, Ludhiana looks pretty polluted. Our data isn't good enough to provide city-specific estimates of life expectancy loss but it is relevant to note that pollution in Ludhiana is double the national average, which gave us life loss of 3.3 years. According to the Pollution Control Board report for the city, it seems like a case of pollution largely from stationary small and medium industries", Pande told The Times of India. Pande suggests public private Initiatives and installation of continuous pollution monitoring devices to improve air quality.

Surjeet Singh, a 45-year-old businessman from BRS Nagar started having frequent attacks of asthma about a decade ago. A pulmonary specialist told him high pollution levels triggered asthma. Although Singh has been taking precautions, his condition has not improved much.

Outdoor air pollution in India

According to specialists, while no study has been conducted on the impact of high pollution level on life expectancy in the study, but the fact is that high level of pollution does affect life expectancy if preventive steps are not taken.

Dr Jagdeep Whig, a city-based chest specialist said minute particles in the air enter the lungs and cause respiratory diseases, decreasing lung capacity and affecting immunity in the long run. "As high level of air pollution results in frequent health problems, we expect life expectancy to come down", he said.

Talking about the cases being reported in hospitals, Dr Gurpreet Singh of SPS Apollo Hospital said, "We are frequently getting cases of intractable cough even among young patients. Although X-Ray and other tests suggest that chest is clear, even then the patient coughs a lot. This is the result of high pollution level, which has led to asthma, COPD and other problems even among young patients".

For environmental activists, this is cause for serious concern. They want the PPCB to act against industrial units pumping pollutants into the air. "Many studies suggest that our city is one of the most polluted in the world. In the absence of proper checks, industries are spewing huge quantities of suspended particles in the air. Corrective steps need to be taken before the quality of life in the city deteriorates further", Amandeep Singh Bains, an environmental activist of the city.

MC estimates suggests there are around 10 lakh plants and trees in the city, which has a population of around 16 lakh, as recorded in the 2011 census.

Harbeen Singh, senior environmental engineer (SEE), PPCB, said, "A human with a life span of 50 to 60 years needs 50 to 100 plants and trees for healthy living. If the number of trees for 16 persons is just 10 in the city, it is very less."

For doctors in the city, Pande's paper does not come as a surprise. "High level of air pollution is leading to respiratory problems among city residents, including COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease), asthma and lung cancer, which do lead to death. During the last 10 years, the number of patients with respiratory problems has risen three times. As air pollution affects the respiratory system, immunity suffers, which makes a person prone to diseases.

Ailments also have an impact on life expectancy", said Dr Gurpreet Singh, senior consultant in pulmonary medicine, SPS Apollo Hospital. As for residents, the downward slide in health is evident. Take the case of Vineet Kumar, 28, a software professional from Civil Lines, who worked in Bangalore for a few years. He did not have any respiratory problem in the southern city. But months after he arrived in Ludhiana, he had respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath and watery eyes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Coal Power Plant Closure Linked to Improved Childhood Developmental

The 2004 closure of a coal-burning power plant in Tongliang, China provided the opportunity to investigate the benefits to development and the impacts on BDNF associated with decreased levels of exposure to PAH. This study has linked decreases in air pollution with decreased levels of PAH-DNA adducts in cord blood, a biological marker of exposure, and reported an association between PAH exposure and adverse developmental outcomes in children born before the plant closure. Link to the article on Science Codex.

Air Pollution in Tongliang, China, when the plant was operational

Deliang Tang, MD, DrPH, and his colleagues followed two groups of mother-child pairs from pregnancy into early childhood. One of the groups was comprised of mothers pregnant while the coal power plant was still open and the other after it closed. Developmental delay was determined using a standardized test, the Gesell Developmental Schedule (GDS), which was adapted for the Chinese population. The GDS assesses children in four areas: motor skills, learned behaviors, language, and social adaptation.

Air Pollution in Tongliang, China, after the plant closure
 "The key to limiting the health impacts of environmental exposures is policy change supported by scientific evidence. These findings indicate that regulation can rapidly decrease exposure and improve health outcomes among the most sensitive populations, providing support for implementing additional measures such as the closure of the Tongliang coal-fired power plant," says Dr. Tang, director of the China studies at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health and associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School. 

A Factory in Kenya to Produce Improved Cookstoves for Africa

At a large factory in Nairobi, Kenya, about 300 Kenyans will soon begin building small, black cookstoves that one islander hopes will alter the face of Africa. “It’s game changing,” said Peter Scott, a Vashon resident and the president of Burn Manufacturing Co.

Estimated 4,000,000 Deaths from Household Cooking Smoke - A Note from Dr. Kirk Smith

For Scott, who returned to the island last week after spending four months in Kenya, the factory’s opening earlier this month was a watershed moment. It means that Kenyans will soon begin mass producing a stove that was designed on Vashon and that will combat what many consider a global crisis — the growing number of deaths and rapid deforestation resulting from the inefficient charcoal-burning cookstoves used in many African homes.

Clean Stoves vs. Clean Fuel

About 2 million people, mostly women and children, die each year from upper respiratory disease due to indoor cooking smoke. What’s more, East Africa is facing an ecological crisis from all that charcoal: It takes seven tons of wood to make one ton of charcoal, leading to rapid deforestation and a lack of sustainability that will create more crises down the road.

Read more..

Measuring and Characterizing Particulate Pollution in Accra, Ghana (ERL)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Over 1000 Fell Sick due to Air Pollution in Bankok, in 5 days (March, 2014)

During March 16-22, more than 1000 people became sick from air pollution caused by a landfill fire in Samut Prakan, says the Ministry of Public Health.

From the National News Bureau of Thailand

According to Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Narong Sahametapat, authorities have been successful in extinguishing the fire that broke out at a garbage landfill in Samut Prakan Province. He however said the fire had caused dust particle levels to exceed the safety standards of 120 micrograms per cubic meter, forcing families living near the site to evacuate.

Approximately 1,200 people reportedly fell ill during March 16-22, when the situation was severe, with most of victims suffering from eye, nose, and throat irritations.

He further disclosed that a 20-month-old baby had to be treated for lung infection. Fortunately, it was just a minor infection and the baby has already been released from the hospital.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In US Cities, Commuters Ditch Cars For Public Transit In Record Numbers

During the morning rush at Chicago's Union Station, commuter trains pull in, the doors open and a crush of people, newspapers and coffee cups in hand, pour off like a flood.

Financial analyst Nader Kouklan says he makes the trip from the suburbs to Chicago's downtown every day. "It's easier and just a faster way to get to work, rather than having to deal with the traffic of the morning commute," Kouklan says.

Link to the article on NPR.

Law student Amalia Romano rides Chicago's Metra line too. "I take it because I don't want to pay $16 to park every day," Romano explains. Romano and Kouklan are among the increasing number of Americans using public transportation. Across the country, public transportation ridership jumped last year to its highest level in more than 50 years.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis says on a typical workday, the rides people take on Metra total about 300,000. The total for last year was 82 million trips, a 1 percent increase in ridership over 2012. "Employment had a lot to do with it — just the gradual gains in employment in the region," Gillis says. "Downtown occupancy ticked up a little bit, so that helps." One other big reason — Chicago sports. The day the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Championship last year, 425,000 people rode Metra, many returning a few days later to join about 2 million fans at a huge Blackhawks rally downtown. "That was probably one of the busiest days in Metra history," Gillis says.

Throughout the entire country, just about every public transportation system saw hikes in ridership, according to a from the American Public Transportation Association. President Michael Melaniphy says Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation last year. "That's huge," Melaniphy says. "This is the highest ridership number we've had in public transportation in 57 years."

Nationally, bus ridership was flat in 2013, due in part to horrible winter weather. However, ridership numbers for subways, elevated trains, street cars and trolleys were up. "Cities under 100,000 have had ridership increases on average of 3.83 percent," Melaniphy says. "We've seen ridership increases in big cities as well. New York had a huge ridership increase." Public transit agencies in Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Flagstaff and Denver were among those reporting record ridership levels. In Utah, where several new transit lines opened around Salt Lake City, the number of people traveling by commuter rail rose a whooping 103 percent over the year before, says Utah Transportation Authority spokesman Remi Barron.
Utah's been on a public transit building boom, Barron says. A new commuter line runs between Salt Lake City and Provo. Three light rail lines run through and around Salt Lake City. "Our airport line's been particularly popular, especially with skiers and visitors, because now people can get right off the plane, they can hop on the light rail train and they can be downtown in 15 minutes." Melaniphy says.
College student Spencer Saddler takes FrontRunner, UTA's commuter line, about three times a week. He says when he used to drive, he'd often get stuck in traffic. "It's just really annoying, and you look over and see FrontRunner just racing down the tracks," Saddler says. "Like, I could be sitting in there right now, taking a nap or doing homework."

Air Pollution reductions Sought from EU Member States until 2030 are ‘Regrettably Low’

Air pollution limits proposed by the European Commission up to 2030 are ‘too high’ and give Member States too long to meet them, according to the European Environment Bureau (EEB).

In December 2013, the Commission published its long-awaited package of air quality measures, which included a tightening of national limits for six major pollutants for 2020 and 2030 (see

But the EEB believes the reductions sought are “regrettably low compared to what could have been achieved by switching fuel use, increasing energy efficiency or promoting more sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling”.

The comments from the EEB – which represents 140 environmental organisations – follow warnings from the European Environment Agency (EEA) last week (March 14) that concentrations of particulate matter PM10 were ‘unusually high’ in parts of Western Europe, with a temporary car ban introduced in Paris to try to abate the problem.

(Map showing annual mean concentrations of PM2.5 in Europe in 2010 (red dots signify the highest levels of pollution)

As a result, the EEB yesterday (March 18) said the European Parliament and EU Member States had a “crucial opportunity to improve EU air quality if they significantly strengthen the package of air pollution measures proposed by the Commission”.

And, the EEB also said that as they stand, the Commission’s proposals would leave “enormous health problems unaddressed”, with 260,000 premature air pollution deaths estimated each year from 2030 onwards.

Louise Duprez, EEB senior policy officer for air, commented: “The old mantra ‘prevention is better than cure’ has rarely been more pertinent. The huge costs of air pollution could be saved if only governments would prevent air pollution before it reached these crisis levels.”

Maria Arnold of the Healthy Air Campaign and ClientEarth in the UK, said: “The UK have been shown up by other EU Member States in recent days – despite also suffering a serious pollution event they failed to issue a full smog alert, or take any proactive measures as seen in France and Belgium.” She added: “The UK government needs to wake up and push for ambitious EU action.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Restrictions on Cars are not Resulting in Expected Reductions in Air Pollution

Why licence plate bans don't cut smog - Car bans such as the one earlier this week in Paris can even make air pollution worse in the long term, analysis shows.
Link to the article @ the Guardian


The Hoy No Circula ('today it doesn't circulate') was introduced by Mexico City in 1989 to combat rampant air pollution. The city bans cars for one day per week, depending on the last number of their number plate. On Mondays five and six don't drive, on Tuesdays it's seven and eight, and so on. The programme was initially successful in bringing down pollution levels, with carbon monoxide (CO) dropping by 11%. But residents began buying second cars (often old inefficient ones) to get around the ban. The long-term impact of the scheme on CO levels has been a 13% rise.


Bogotá's Pico y Placa ('peak and plate') banned cars from driving during the peak traffic hour, two days per week. The Colombians sought to improve on the Mexican model by switching the combinations of days and numbers every year, making it harder to circumvent by buying another car. The policy has failed to deliver clear benefits in air pollution. Restrictions have been tightened periodically, with some of the changes leading to reductions in CO and airborne particles. But one study found most of the major pollutant concentrations were worse because drivers were driving in off-peak hours and driving more to get around the measures.


During the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing banned cars on the basis of odd and even numbers, similar to the French ban this week. In conjunction with some fortuitous rain and the shutting down of the factories and industries that cause much of Beijing's pollution, the ban drove airborne particulate matter concentrations during the Olympics down by 20%. After the Games, the Beijing authorities kept a one-day a week ban in place. But this, like other long-term licence plate bans, has had a limited effect on air pollution and encouraged drivers to buy second cars.


The Swedish capital implemented its LEZ in 1996. Vehicles are banned from these zones if they fall below certain EU emissions standards . The Stockholm LEZ brought emissions of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) down by 20% and particulate emissions down by half. The effect of this on the air quality was noticeable, with NO and NO2 concentrations down 1.3% and particulate concentrations down 3%.


A £5 congestion charge to drive on London's innermost streets was implemented in 2003. Studies showed emissions of dangerous pollutants – NO, NO2 and small particulate matter (PM10) – were reduced by 12%. The charge is now £10.

In 2008, Transport for London introduced an LEZ, which governs the efficiency of lorries, buses and coaches for the whole of Greater London. The zone led to a fall of 20% in tiny particulate matter (PM2.5) but had no discernable impact on PM10 or NO2. Critics say London's LEZ needs to include private vehicles if it is to be effective.


Implemented in 2008, Berlin's LEZ bans all diesel vehicles and petrol vehicles without a closed loop catalytic converter. The effect on levels of diesel pollution, which is a known carcinogen , has been dramatic. Concentrations of diesel particulates have dropped by 14-22%. PM10 concentrations near main roads are down 3% and the number of days when the city's air pollution exceeds European standards has fallen by four to 24 days per year.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Explosive Growth in African Combustion Emissions from 2005 to 2030

Emissions of gases and particles from the combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels in Africa are expected to increase significantly in the near future due to the rapid growth of African cities and megacities. There is currently no regional emissions inventory that provides estimates of anthropogenic combustion for the African continent. This work provides a quantification of the evolution of African combustion emissions from 2005 to 2030, using a bottom-up method. This inventory predicts very large increases in black carbon, organic carbon, CO, NOx, SO2 and non-methane hydrocarbon emissions if no emission regulations are implemented. This paper discusses the effectiveness of scenarios involving certain fuels, specific to Africa in each activity sector and each region (western, eastern, northern and southern Africa), to reduce the emissions. The estimated trends in African emissions are consistent with emissions provided by global inventories, but they display a larger range of values.

Gridded Anthropogenic OC Emissions in 2030 in Africa
African combustion emissions contributed significantly to global emissions in 2005. This contribution will increase more significantly by 2030: organic carbon emissions will for example make up 50% of the global emissions in 2030. Furthermore, we show that the magnitude of African anthropogenic emissions could be similar to African biomass burning emissions around 2030.

Download the full journal article @ Environmental Research Letters

64% of China’s Rich Were Either Immigrating to Another Country or Planning to !!

A recent survey provides the strongest evidence yet that China’s polluted cities risk driving away the rich. Released in January by the Hurun Research Institute, the survey shows 64% of China’s rich (those with wealth above $1.6 million) were either immigrating to another country or planning to, a rise from 60% in the last poll two years ago.

Heavy Haze in the Qingdao Development Area

That came as a surprise to Rupert Hoogewerf, founder of the Hurun Report, an annual China rich list. He wasn’t expecting the already high figure to grow. He says pollution and food safety was the second-biggest reason for emigrating, after the general desire for security and financial well-being. Although the numbers of those emigrating haven’t yet reached a critical mass, Hoogewerf says “a lot of families are finding a lot of other rich families are going overseas,” providing examples to follow.

China Needs Olympic Period Regulations or Similar to Cut Pollution Problems

Link to the article @ TIME

What’s happening is that those who can avoid the smog, especially families with children, are escaping what a recent Chinese study reportedly called “unlivable” cities like Beijing. They’re seeking permanent residency in America and Canada, and European countries Cyprus, Portugal, and the U.K.

Environmental Immigrants - Urbanites Flee China’s Smog for Blue Skies (NYT)

Earlier this winter I spoke with half a dozen wealthy mothers in Beijing who explained to me how pollution had some of them considering moving away. It was enlightening to hear because what the survey doesn’t tell you is that the rich don’t take moving to another country lightly. The women explained what a hard decision it was to make. China’s culture and language had them wanting to stay. But many of them were afraid for their children’s health, leading them to plans to go abroad.

1 Million Lung Cancer Patients in China by 2025

Of course, many rich will stay in smoggy Beijing and China’s other polluted cities. Opportunities in the world’s fastest-growing major economy are hard to turn down. And surveys show the Chinese remain loyal about investing at home. But the air pollution problem isn’t getting better anytime soon, and neither will the flight of China’s wealthiest residents.

Indian TV Show "Satyamev Jayate" Launches Campaign on Waste Burning in South Delhi

Residents of Okhla in south Delhi, who have been complaining that toxic fumes from a garbage-burning plant in their neighbourhood impair their health, have got a crusader in Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan. On his TV show Satyamev Jayate aired on Sunday, the 48-year-old actor said, “This is very dangerous. We're destroying air, water and land meant for us as well as the next generations. We're turning garbage, which is actually an asset, into poison.”

Link to the article in Hindustan Times

Aamir ran a clip on the plant. It said, “A big plant to deal with the problem of garbage has been operating in south Delhi for the last two years. It burns garbage. But since it started functioning, it has opened a floodgate of problems for local people.” The actor himself said, “Though there are so many simple and good options to manage waste, the government is trying to use a new technology…only god knows what havoc it will wreak.” He asked people to segregate waste at home reuse, recycle and treat the rest. Aamir said he had invited eight municipal commissioners, including three from Delhi. “While seven didn’t even respond, one said he cannot come,” he said.

The programme featured several affected residents. Bawa RP Singh, said, “We have breathing problems because of the emissions.” Two women, Manju Dua and Sudha Garg, said, “We suffer joint pain. We have itching in eyes. Cloths that we hang for drying turn black. There's a foul smell.” While Ranjit Devraj said there are days when ash falls on houses, cloths and cars, Arif said, “Doctors say we face the threat of cancer.”

The main question that the programme raised was: “Are these plants an option to deal with the problem of garbage?” Delhi-based environmentalist Ravi Agarwal said on the show: “This technology is much in use in the West. But incinerators cannot produce energy in India because 70 per cent of the waste is wet.

Through these dangerous emissions, we are actually creating landfills in the skies.” “Dioxins produced are very dangerous and can cause genetic damage to future generations. Heavy metals such as lead can permanently damage the IQ of children,” he said. Aamir said he would take the matter up with government authorities.

The current status of the plant
  • A Parliament panel has sought closure of the plant
  • National Green Tribunal has ordered surprise inspections at the plant
  • The plant, set up in December 2011, is supposed to burn 1,950 tonnes of solid waste and produce 16 MW of electricity
  • Residents say they have been protesting seeking relief from what they say smothering smoke and ash
  • Residents claim burning of mixed waste produces toxic ash containing heavy metals such as lead and mercury

Air Pollution in Vishakhapatnam Leading to Cough, Allergies, Skin Rashes and Fevers

“Pollution in this area makes life hell for residents. There is no pure air to breathe. We very often suffer from cough, allergies, skin rashes and fevers,” Jyoti says pointing at coal dust accumulated at various places in front of the shop.

Link to the article @ The Hindu
Jyoti, seventh standard student of Fort Catholic Girls’ School, sits at the pan kiosk whenever she is free to support her mother to eke out a living. The shop has a thick layer of dust. Her feelings reflect the mood, by and large, of the residents of Old Town, once the main hub of Visakhapatnam. Contacted at random by a team from The Hindu, many belonging to Kota Veedhi, Vada Veedhi, Soldierpet and other areas said they were suffering a lot due to pollution though the impact has come down to some extent.

Mechanisation of some berths, construction of a soccer-stadium-type wall around the dusty cargo handling areas and sprinkling system to prevent flying of coal and iron dust by air are cited as some of the reasons for reduction of pollution to some extent. “It’s better than the past but it will be good if the port stops pollution for good,” said Joseph, a welder in Bothra Company.

Seething with anger over pollution, some of the sufferers said they would not allow the candidates to canvass in their areas seeking vote for them. “We will support only those who pledge to fight against port pollution,” said B. Raju, contract worker of a bank. “They (port officials) are asking us to vacate and take alternative land from the port. Where will we go? We were born and brought up here,” he said.

Lavanya, 10 standard student from Shining Star Little Garden School, said “our quality of life will improve if steps are taken to stop pollution.”

Adilakshmi, a home-maker, said pollution of any kind was nothing but slow-poisoning. Hence, many like Lavanya look for good days ahead by containing pollution completely.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Air Pollution News & Alerts - March 17th, 2014

Outlook, March 17th, 2014
Ludhiana, Kanpur Among World's Top 10 Polluted Cities.

USA Today, March 17th, 2014
The Weather has its say.

American Thinker, March 17th, 2014
What causes most air pollution.

The Guardian, March 17th, 2014
Does Paris have worse air pollution than Beijing?

The Hindu, March 17th, 2014
In dusty Old Town, ‘we have no pure air to breathe’.

Chem.Info, March 17th, 2014
Free Rides Combat Pollution In Europe.

Electric Auto Sport, March 17th, 2014
How Formula E helps to reduce air pollution.

Times of India, March 17th, 2014
Weather call service gets only 3% pollution queries.

Ecologist, March 16th, 2014
Beijing's $5bn tree project - will it cut pollution?

Steel Guru, March 15th, 2014
China aims to cut coal burning by 220 million tonnes.

USA Today, March 15th, 2014
Dangerous smog battles the economy in China.

Economic times, March 14th, 2014
Beijing's clean air plan to boost gas demand.

Londonist, March 14th, 2014
London Air Pollution At Highest Level.

RT News, March 14th, 2014
‘As polluted as Beijing’: Paris makes public transport free amid smog crisis.

Times of India, March 14th, 2014
Polluted Paris chokes in the springtime sun.

Chron News, March 14th, 2014
Panasonic compensates employees for bad China air.

The Verge, March 14th, 2014
Smog in Paris is so bad, the city is offering free public transportation.

The Seattle Times, March 14th, 2014
Smog sits heavy over Paris and much of France.

Energy Market, March 14th, 2014
Britain: 12 GW of power plant capacity to be taken offline by the end of 2023.

ECNS, March 13th, 2014
Coal hub considered for North China.

Global Times, March 13th, 2014
Dome, sweet dome.

The Hindu, March 13th, 2014
Study points to rising air pollution in Tirupati.

Bloomberg, March 13th, 2014
Chinese Cadres Told Going Green Rivals GDP to Rise in Party.

Global Times, March 13th, 2014
Dome, sweet dome.

The Guardian, March 12th, 2014
Nine Chinese cities suffered more days of severe smog than Beijing.

Straits Times, March 12th, 2014
China carbon tax in doubt as air pollution takes centre stage.

Billings Gazette, March 12th, 2014
Comparing Beijing and Colstrip: It's not the coal plants.

The Guardian, March 12th, 2014
Can Kemper become the first US power plant to use 'clean coal'?

Kitsap Sun, March 12th, 2014
State Plagued by Bad Air, Scant Water.

Global Times, March 11th, 2014
Environmental reforms can tackle China’s nagging pollution woes.

ECNS, March 11th, 2014
Baoding upgrading industry to combat pollution.

The Guardian, March 11th, 2014
Climate change and sensitivity: not all Watts are equal.

People's China, March 11th, 2014
China declares war on smog.

France 24, March 11th, 2014
Sun-drenched yet hazardous days come to Paris.

Wall Street Journal, March 10th, 2014
Pollution: Causing Lung Cancer in China?

Global Times, March 10th, 2014
Air Quality Index to show less hazy pollution reading.

Mumbai Mirror, March 10th, 2014
‘Emission inventory’ is 1st step to predicting city’s air pollution.

The Olympian, March 10th, 2014
Study a window into coal train air pollution.

Climate Central, March 10th, 2014
India’s Diesel Fumes Impacting Glacier Melt in Himalayas.

China Times, March 9th, 2014
China can learn from Taiwan in air pollution legislation.

Liberty Voice, March 9th, 2014
China Is Likely to Worsen Water Shortage When Solving Air Pollution.

Global Times, March 9th, 2014
Asian giants share scourge of pollution.

Reuters, March 8th, 2014
China tests anti-smog drone aircraft.

Power Engineering, March 7th, 2014
US EPA head reassures power sector on emissions rules.

Power Engineering, March 7th, 2014
First commercial-scale CCS imminent.

Green Car Conress, March 7th, 2014
UK and China launch 3-year, £20M low carbon innovation program.

The Guardian, March 7th, 2014
Surviving Beijing's pollution while pregnant: 'I feel like a lab-rat'.

Climate Progress, March 6th, 2014
Australian Town’s Air Pollution As Bad As Beijing’s Due To Coal Mine Fire.

Indian Express, March 6th, 2014
Clearing the air in China and India.

Sydney Morning Herald, March 6th, 2014
Public concern forces Beijing to act on environment.

Bloomberg, March 6th, 2014
India's Diesel Cars Are Proving Lethal.

Atlantic Cities, March 5th, 2014
How Buenos Aires Unclogged Its Most Iconic Street.

Platts, March 5th, 2014
China to fast-track introduction of Phase 5 gasoline in major cities in 2015.

Economic Times, March 5th, 2014
China to "declare war" on pollution, premier Li Keqiang says.

The Telegraph, March 5th, 2014
China to 'declare war' on pollution.

The New York Times, March 5th, 2014
China Declares ‘War Against Pollution’.

China Daily, March 4th, 2014
Harsh punishment can build villages.

Times of India, March 4th, 2014
Standardize fuel to improve Delhi air.

Washington Post, March 4th, 2014
Diesel-powered vehicles leave New Delhi’s air worse than Beijing’s.

Hindu, March 4th, 2014
Vehicle emission norms thrown to the winds.

The City Fix, March 4th, 2014
Peru takes the lead in combating climate change through transport.

ECNS, March 4th, 2014
China can curb smog in less than 30 years.

China Daily, March 3rd, 2014
Environment issues rising on the list of employees' worries.

The Himalayan, March 3rd, 2014
Air pollution and health: Every breath is a hazard.

The City Fix, March 3rd, 2014
New fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles are a “win-win-win”.

The Guardian, March 3rd, 2014
Is Europe's gas supply threatened by the Ukraine crisis?

350.Org, March 3th, 2014
We want passenger trains not oil trains!

Atlantic Cities, March 3rd, 2014
How We Picture a City: Venice and Google Maps.

Atlantic Cities, March 3rd, 2014
When Traffic Congestion Is Both a Great Thing and a Terrible Thing.

Quartz News, March 3rd, 2014
Beijing buys a waste management company to solve its pollution problems—but it won’t work.

The National, March 2nd, 2014
Air pollution in Sharjah as toxic as in Beijing, survey shows.

Global Times, March 2nd, 2014
Pollution study to use smog chambers.

Business Recorder, March 2nd, 2014
Bulgaria chokes on air pollution fuelled by poverty.

DNA, March 1st, 2014
BMC to wash 500 km of roads to bring down air pollution.

Simple Climate, March 1st, 2014
Renewable energy beats ‘clean coal’ on cost in Australia.

Xinhua Net, March 1st, 2014
China discovers huge oil, gas deposits.

China Daily, February 28th, 2014
Shanghai limits use of taxi apps.

Bloomberg, February 28th, 2014
India’s Diesel Subsidy Spurs Pollution Worse Than Beijing.

Bloomberg, February 28th, 2014
India’s Diesel Subsidy Spurs Pollution Worse Than Beijing.

Wall Street Journal, February 28th, 2014
A Buying Guide to Air-Pollution Masks.

Digital Journal, February 28th, 2014
Imported Smog and Domestic Air Pollution Linked to Health Problems for Many Americans.

The Age, February 27th, 2014
China's leaders hope to create a new atmosphere.

The Independent, February 27th, 2014
Citizen clean: Campaigners frustrated with the Government's failure to cut the amount of air pollution are uniting to tackle 'invisible killer'.

Business Standard, February 27th, 2014
Pollution curbs to replace GDP to judge officials' performance.

Chian Daily, February 27th, 2014
Do-it-yourself air.

Science Daily, February 26th, 2014
Algae's viability as a biofuel advanced.

Mail Online, February 26th, 2014
Chinese smog is so bad it's like a 'nuclear winter' that's even stopping plants' photosynthesis.

Reuters, February 26th, 2014
China vows 'harsh punishment' for toxic smog culprits.

The State, February 26th, 2014
Senators: Keystone pipeline needs review for health impacts.

Bangkok Post, February 26th, 2014
WHO calls air pollution in Chinese cities a crisis.

Atlantic Cities, February 26th, 2014
Can Dhaka Get a Handle on Its Air Pollution?

ABC Environment, February 25th, 2014
Air pollution lowers sperm quality.

Seattle Times, February 24th, 2014
Beijing cracking down on sources of stifling pollution.

China Daily, February 24th, 2014
Hebei steps up its air pollution fight.

Reuters, February 24th, 2014
Silencing China's zombie steel mills no solution for smog.

Wall Street Journal, February 24th, 2014
Beijing Choking on 'Hazardous' Air.

Press TV, February 24th, 2014
Air pollution in Indian capital hits new record high.

Eureka Alert, February 24th, 2014
How much does African dust add to Houston's pollution?

Yale 360, February 24th, 2014
Is Weird Winter Weather Related to Climate Change?

Indian Express, February 24th, 2014
Silk City Continues to Reel under Dust, Sound Pollution Despite Norms.

Times of India, February 23rd, 2014
Union Health Minister of India delinks illness from air pollution.

Times of India, February 23rd, 2014
Heat islands pose serious threat to Delhiites' health.

Christian Science Monitor, February 23rd, 2014
Supreme Court takes up challenge to Obama and the EPA.

Liberty Voice, February 23rd, 2014
Air Pollution in China Results in Reduction Measures.

Liberty Voice, February 23rd, 2014
Air Pollution a Global Health Concern.

Hindustan Times, February 23rd, 2014
India needs stringent norms to curb vehicular pollution.

Bloomberg, February 22nd, 2014
Beijing Air Pollution Reaches 11-Times WHO Recommended Levels.

Economic Times, February 22nd, 2014
Beijing issues rare air pollution alert.

Global Post, February 22nd, 2014
Bulgaria chokes on air pollution fuelled by poverty.

Vancouver Observer, February 22nd, 2014
Garbage burning plan 'dangerous' to health.

India Today, February 22nd, 2014
Children in Delhi have lungs of chain-smokers!

Global Times, February 22nd, 2014
Air polluting companies reported in China.

Business Standard, February 22nd, 2014
Increasing air pollution causing respiratory ailments.

Xinhua Net, February 22nd, 2014
China uses economic tools against smog.

NDTV, February 21st, 2014
Delhi's alarming pollution level can reduce life expectancy by three years.

Clean Air, February 20th, 2014
Vietnam and Thailand governments updating emission standards for in-use diesel vehicles.

China Daily, February 20th, 2014
Natural gas in China can learn from US.

Power Engineering, February 19th, 2014
Resource rich and plentiful in opportunities in Africa.

China Daily, February 18th, 2014
Hebei continues with project to cut excess capacity in polluting sectors.

Xinhua Net, February 17th, 2014
Commentary: Fighting climate change is China's own will.

Financial Express, February 17th, 2014
Budget 2014: Cars, two-wheelers, TVs, computers set to be cheaper.

Times of India, February 15th, 2014
Adopt cleaner technologies in coal energy generation.

Power Technology, February 14th, 2014
US forecasts increase in coal-fired power plant retirements by 2020.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In Spring 2014, Air Pollution in Paris Equals Beijing

Air pollution that has turned the skies over Paris a murky yellow and shrouded much of Belgium for days forced drivers to slow down Friday and gave millions a free ride on public transportation.

Real time air quality information for Paris, France.

This combination of photos shows the Eiffel tower (R) in central Paris through a haze of pollution taken on March 14, 2014 and during clear weather (L) on August 17, 2012. (AFP Photo / Bertrand Guay / Kenzo Tribouillard)
The belt of smog stretched for hundreds of miles, from France’s Atlantic coast to Belgium and well into Germany. It was the worst air pollution France has seen since 2007, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said.

Paris restricts car and motorcycle use - alternate driving days based on registration number (BBC).

Nearly all of France was under some sort of pollution alert Friday, with levels in the Parisian region surpassing some of those in the world’s most notoriously polluted cities, including Beijing and Delhi.
To combat the smog, public transit around Paris and in two other cities was free Friday through Sunday. Elsewhere in France and in Belgium’s southern Wallonia area, the free ride was only for Friday.

RT News, March 14th, 2014
‘As polluted as Beijing’: Paris makes public transport free amid smog crisis.

Times of India, March 14th, 2014
Polluted Paris chokes in the springtime sun.

The Verge, March 14th, 2014
Smog in Paris is so bad, the city is offering free public transportation.

The Seattle Times, March 14th, 2014
Smog sits heavy over Paris and much of France.

The smog is particularly severe in Paris because France has an unusually high number of diesel vehicles, whose nitrogen-oxide fumes mix with ammonia from springtime fertilizers and form particulate ammonium nitrate. Pollutants from the burning of dead leaves and wood also contribute.
One environmental group complained this week, denouncing the “inertia of the government,” saying it was putting lives in danger.

The French Health Ministry issued warnings particularly for the elderly, pregnant women, young children and those with respiratory ailments. In the parks, joggers could be heard complaining that they were finding it more uncomfortable than usual to run. There’s no question that pollution can be an immediate health hazard, said EEA air-quality manager Valentin Foltescu.

Real time air quality information from European Cities.

“Some people will, unfortunately, die,” Foltescu said. “There is a high correlation of pollution of this kind and mortality.” Speed limits dropped in France and Belgium and electronic billboards in Paris dispensed advice and emergency information.

But the website that keeps up-to-the-minute figures on the Paris region’s air quality slowed to a crawl and asked visitors to follow it on Twitter or Facebook rather than crash the site. Foltescu said that if everyone follows the government’s advice “You will see an instant difference.” If not, he added, the pollution would last about as long as the region’s unseasonably warm and sunny weather.

Air Pollution in London @ 10 on a UK's scale of 1-10

This episode of air pollution is primarily down to particulates — tiny particles that we breathe in and can embed themselves into our lungs. It’s being largely blamed on pollution being blown in from Europe and sitting over the south east in these fine, still weather conditions. The morning fog today and yesterday has also contributed to moderately high nitrogen dioxide levels because the traffic pollution from rush hour hasn’t been able to disperse into the air.

Link to the article on Londonist.

Normally air pollution is worst near busy roads and that’s true today (your correspondent just walked up Lewisham High Street and is now experiencing a nasty sinus situation, urgh) but pollution levels away from roads are also classed as ‘very high‘ by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Air pollution can affect people with respiratory problems like asthma, and also heart disease. It’s estimated that air pollution prematurely kills around 4,000 Londoners a year.

Beijing's View of London's Air Pollution (China Dialogue)

The London Assembly Greens have repeated their call on the Mayor to issue smog alerts on high air pollution days, so people in at-risk categories can make informed decisions. At the moment Londoners can sign up for alerts from the London Air Quality Network, run by King’s College, or local boroughs, but nothing with quite the impact an announcement from City Hall would have.

1,600 Premature Deaths a Year - by Air Pollution from the Coal Power Plants in the United Kingdom

If we’re talking centralised action on air pollution, Paris is taking a stand. The French capital is having similar problems to us and as well as issuing health alerts, has made public transport (including the Velib cycle hire scheme and electric car sharing) free from today until Sunday in an attempt to mitigate the haze.

Imagine Breathing This - 15,000 tonnes of Tyres Go Up in Smoke in York, UK

It’s too late to take that kind of action here — we’ll be getting winds from the northwest tomorrow, which will dissipate much of the pollution — but it’s an example of the kind of imaginative thinking that could be implemented the next time. Because there will be a next time.

Aero-Domes for Clean Air in China

Beijing's air pollution woes might be bad for residents' health, but for outdoor air-supported structure maker MetaSpace (Beijing) Technology smog has been good for business. The company was in a slump before 2006 amid low demand for their products, which filter out harmful air pollutants. But severe bouts of air pollution in Beijing and elsewhere in China over the past year have unlocked unprecedented market opportunities.

Organizing Life Around PM2.5 Went Mainstream

MetaSpace's sales and marketing director, Zhong Fan, said the company has handled more orders and enquiries over the past months than ever before. Year-on-year sales increased 100 percent in 2013.

Like disposable masks, air purifiers and even drones, air-supported structures are part of a line of "clean-air" products designed to mitigate the harmful effects of smog. They have also become a visible way for schools and other organizations to flex their environmental credentials as safe havens from the haze.

Read the full article @ Global Times

The main value of public structures is the benefit they provide all citizens rather than an exclusive group, according to German architect Christoph Klemmt. The director of Orproject Architects, Klemmt is the brains behind a radical idea to enclose all of Beijing in an anti-smog "bubble."

Klemmt, 36, has been living in China for three years and plans to stay longer. His idea for a citywide dome was partly inspired by a college classmate from India, another developing country battling air pollution.

Transparency and Incentives Are First Steps in Combating Air Pollution

Covering a city of more than 20 million people and over 5 million cars in a dome might be farfetched, but enclosing a large public area could prove a more practical alternative. "If we can cover a park [with the bubble], we can control its environment inside," Klemmt said.

"Buildings surrounding the park, which are connected to the controlled air system, can house apartments, offices and retail stores, but may also offer sports or medical facilities that make specific use of the healthy air," he added.

Klemmt said the purpose of a bubbled park would be to address Beijing's shortage of plants and trees needed to offset carbon emissions. "[The bubbled park] would be a greenhouse, a botanical garden in which you can have tropical plants inside," he said.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rising Air Pollution Levels in the Temple City of Tirupati

The temple city of Tirupati, a cultural centre and a major pilgrimage destination in southern India, might be succumbing to a phenomenon common to urban areas. There has been steady rise in population and the usage of vehicles here, which in turn contribute to increasing pollution levels of the city, a study by city-based researchers has revealed.

Link to the article in the Hindu
The presence of eight hazardous air pollutants has been confirmed in the city’s atmosphere, says a research paper authored by Y.V. Rami Reddy, Associate Professor at Sri Venkateswara University’s Department of Chemistry and P. Muni Nagendra, a scientist at Hyderabad’s First Source Laboratory, pointed out.

Speaking to The Hindu, Prof. Reddy and Dr. Nagendra quoted recent studies on Particulate Matter (PM10), which attributed 82 per cent of particulate pollution in urban areas to vehicular emissions and road dust.

Traffic Going Up the Seven Hills of Tirumala-Tirupati - Mostly Run on Diesel
 “We collected air dust samples from ten busy locations in the city and analysed them through techniques like ICP-MS, ICP-OES and AAS. Pollutants (less than one micron) like arsenic, beryllium, benzene, benzo (a) pyrene, cadmium, chromium, nickel, lead and manganese have been found in the ambient air,” they said.

Increased construction activities, vehicular emissions, road dust, burning of wood/biomass, emissions from diesel generators etc., were to blame for the rising pollutions levels, Prof. Reddy said. “Though some elements are found in low concentrations, they can exert considerable influence on a range of health issues and environmental processes,” he added.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

What Car Sales Tell Us About Asia's Rise

Dark Clouds may hover over India and China's future growth stories. But the past decade has been about the rise of Asia. Car sales since 2005 bear that out. Question is, can Asia get its golden phase back?

An image from the Mail India Today, March 5th, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Air Pollution in Sharjah as Toxic as in Beijing

Air pollution in Sharjah on some days reaches the same toxic levels as notoriously smog-ridden cities such as Beijing, Tokyo and Mexico City.

Link to the article on The National.

Scientists studying air quality in the emirate found pollutants including ethane, propane, acetylene, benzene, butane and toluene. The concentration of benzene in particular, a known carcinogen, ranged from 0.34 parts per billion to 3.2 ppb. The average for Mexico city is 0.6ppb, for Beijing 2ppb and for Tokyo 4ppb. Health authorities in the United States have set an exposure limit of 1 part per million in the workplace during an eight-hour working day.

Air Pollution in The United States.

The survey in Sharjah, conducted by scientists from the American University of Sharjah in collaboration with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Florida, is focusing on specific types of pollutants known as volatile organic compounds, which contribute to smog formation.

Smog is the common name for ground-level ozone, which is formed when chemical compounds released from combustion engines react with other substances in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight. Carbon monoxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and non-methane volatile organic compounds all contribute to forming smog.

Ground-level ozone is a public health concern and breathing it can trigger a variety of chest complaints as well as worsen asthma and bronchitis. Some volatile organic compounds have also recently been associated with cancer risk, reproductive effects and birth defects.

Preliminary results on measurements taken since last summer indicate that on some days Sharjah’s air is relatively clean, said Dr Tariq Majeed, associate professor of physics at AUS and the leader of the project. On other days, however, levels of pollutants are on par with the world’s most polluted cities.
Dr Majeed first observed the trend when looking at concentration data for ground-level ozone or smog from the meteorological station at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The analysis of the compounds that contribute to the formation of smog also show a similar trend.

The samples are being collected on weekdays between 1pm and 3pm in three areas – close to a beach, in the city centre and on top of a building on the university campus. The analysis is carried out in Miami with the collaboration of Dr Daniel Riemer.

While more data is needed to explain the large variations in the amount of air pollutants, Dr Majeed thinks this is an indication that a significant portion of the pollutants are produced abroad and carried on the wind.

Some pollutants, he said, have a long life and can travel large distances by air. The team is comparing the variations in pollution levels measured in Sharjah against atmospheric models that show the real-time movement of air masses.

Air Pollution in Tehran

Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are all possible sources of the pollutants, he said. “If you look around this area, you will see a lot of petrochemical industry.” The project continues until the end of this summer. The findings will be presented in August at the Scientific Assembly of the Committee on Space Research in Moscow.