Thursday, October 30, 2014

US Embassy Issues Air Quality Warning in Delhi

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

Article from the Wall Street Journal

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Air Pollution News & Alerts - October 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more @ the Hindu

Beijing's Marathon Masked with Air Pollution !!

Even by the city's standards, Beijing was very polluted on Sunday. The PM2.5 scale, which measures the number of micrograms of "particulate matter" per cubic meter, came up to a whopping 344. (To put that figure in perspective, the World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms to be healthy.)  The pollution was so bad that the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center warned the elderly, the sick, and children to stay indoors, and everyone else to avoid outdoor activity.

Read more @ the Atlantic

To say the least, these weren't ideal conditions for a marathon. But that race is precisely what took place on Sunday, as tens of thousands of runners braved the conditions to complete the 34th annual Beijing International Marathon.

Event organizers were aware that the air wouldn't be good on Sunday, but determined it was too late to postpone the race, which had attracted participants from throughout China and around the world. To help runners clean detritus from their skin, organizers supplied over 140,000 sponges placed at stations throughout the course.

Girhay Birhanu Gebru of Ethiopia won the men's competition for the second consecutive year, finishing in 2 hours, 10 minutes, and 42 seconds. His compatriot Fatuma Sado Dergo, meanwhile, captured the women's title at 2 hours, 30 minutes, and 3 seconds.

But these accomplishments were overshadowed by the sight of thousands of runners, many wearing face masks, streaking through a city so polluted that many nearby buildings could not be seen from the course.

Gong Lihua, a participant from China's Inner Mongolia region who finished third in the women's race, shrugged off the bad air.

"Today the smog did have a little impact on my performance, but not a major one," she said.
The Chinese government has struggled to balance environmental concerns with economic activity, and periodically closes factories located near the capital in order to reduce air pollution. But despite Beijing's ever-improving living standards, the city still endures a reputation as being uninhabitable. The Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, a prominent government think tank, found in February that only Moscow had worse environmental credentials than Beijing.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

India Launches Methodology to Present Air Quality Index

India launched an index on Friday to measure air quality across the country, which is home to some of the most polluted cities in the world. It will measure eight major pollutants that impact respiratory health in cities with populations exceeding one million in the next five years and then gradually the rest of the country, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters. The Air Quality Index will warn residents when pollution levels shoot past dangerous levels.

More @ The Guardian

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Who Made This Charcoal Briquette - Linking Motoring and Outdoor Cooking

In the summer of 1919, a Michigan real estate agent named Edward G. Kingsford was invited on a camping trip by his wife’s cousin, the industrialist Henry Ford. In addition to Ford, the adventurers included Thomas Edison, the tire magnate Harvey Firestone and the naturalist John Burroughs. Although the group called themselves the Vagabonds, they traveled with chauffeurs and a chef in a convoy of six vehicles, one of which was a fully equipped kitchen truck.

Link to the article @ NY Times.

Kingsford was invited to join this annual adventure so that he and Ford could discuss timber, specifically the timber that might be found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Americans bought one million Model T’s in 1919, and between the frame, wheel spokes, dashboard and running board, each car contained about 100 board feet of hardwood. So Ford wanted to produce his own. By the following spring, Kingsford had helped the industrialist acquire 313,000 acres of timberland in Iron Mountain, Mich. Ford built a sawmill and a parts plant there, along with a neighboring town — named Kingsford — to house the workers.

The mill produced plenty of lumber for Ford cars, but it also generated waste in the form of stumps, branches and sawdust. This irked Ford, who didn’t like to leave money lying on the ground. The solution came from a University of Oregon chemist named Orin Stafford, who had invented a method for making pillow-shaped lumps of fuel from sawdust and mill waste combined with tar and bound together with cornstarch. He called the lumps “charcoal briquettes.” Ford, ever efficient, shortened the word to “briquet.”

Edison designed a briquette factory next to the sawmill, and Kingsford ran it. It was a model of efficiency, producing 610 pounds of briquettes for every ton of scrap wood. At the beginning, the charcoal sold to meat and fish smokehouses, but supply exceeded demand. By the mid-1930s, Ford was marketing “Picnic Kits” containing charcoal and portable grills directly from Ford dealerships, capitalizing on the link between motoring and outdoor adventure that his own Vagabond travels popularized. “Enjoy a modern picnic,” the package suggested. “Sizzling broiled meats, steaming coffee, toasted sandwiches.”

But the Great Depression might not have been the best time to evoke the charm of outdoor cooking, which must have called to mind the Hooverville shantytowns springing up in every city. It wasn’t until after World War II that backyard barbecuing took off, thanks to suburban migration, the invention of the Weber grill and the marketing efforts of the businessmen who bought Ford Charcoal in 1951. They renamed it Kingsford Charcoal and persuaded the major supermarket chains to carry it. By 1963, barbecues, like cars, were icons of American leisure. As an article in Reader’s­ Digest observed, “Cooking with charcoal . . . is now as deeply ingrained in American life as the long weekend and the servantless kitchen.”