Thursday, December 25, 2014

Air Pollution News & Alerts - December 25th, 2014

Times of India, December 25th, 2014
Delhi Metro rides high, keeps 3.9 lakh vehicles off roads.

Asia One, December 24th, 2014
China: Business boom for firms selling air purifiers, protective masks.

Times of India, December 24th, 2014
Air pollution a major environmental risk to health.

India Gazette, December 24th, 2014
Delhi breathes season's filthiest air Tuesday.

Pakistan Observer, December 24th, 2014
COPD to become leading cause of deaths in the country.

Times of India, December 24th, 2014
Gurgaon in grip of deadly air pollution.

Business Insider, December 23rd, 2014
China Is Finally Updating Its Air Pollution Laws.

The Gaurdian, December 22nd, 2014Direct Action unlikely to meet emissions target.

The Tribune, December 21st, 2014
Metro Bus Project: Poor construction practices taking toll on residents.

Business Standard, December 21st, 2014
NGT directs sealing of North Delhi scrap market.

The Japan Times, December 21st, 2014
Under Xi, China is coming clean on dirty air.

The News Tribune, December 21st, 2014
Our health will benefit from taking action on climate change.

De Somg Blog, December 21st, 2014
As New York Bans Fracking, Calls for Moratorium in Pennsylvania Grow Stronger.
 The Hindu, December 20th, 2014
Electricity Bill focusses on renewable energy.

The Gaurdian, December 20th, 2014
10 things to know about China, Latin America and the environment.

Times of India, December 19th, 2014
To clean up air in cities, govt plans biofuel, electric buses.

Click Green, December 19th, 2014
UK awards £300m in subsidies to Europe's most polluting power plants.

Times of India, December 19th, 2014
City air 'hazardous', doctors sound caution.

The Hindu, December 19th, 2014
Stepping stones to a greener world.

Business Standard, December 19th, 2014
NTPC keen for 50% stake in OTPCL power plant.

NPR, December 18th, 2014Citing Health, Environment Concerns, New York Moves To Ban Fracking.

The Guardian, December 18th, 2014
China's largest coal power plant violating air pollution levels every week.

New Security Beat, December 18th, 2014
Two Decades Trying to Solve China’s Environmental Problems.

Times of India, December 17th, 2014
Diesel use rising fast in capital, so is air pollution.

domain-b news, December 17th, 2014
Cheaper coal raises India's import bill, dents Railway's freight earnings.

World Bulletin, December 17th, 2014
Turkey privatises 2 thermal power plants.

The Gaurdian, December 16th, 2014Cheaper oil could damage renewable energies.

The Gaurdian, December 16th, 2014
The renewable energy sector needs to commit to getting off subsidies.

Live Mint, December 16th, 2014
India’s ‘smart’ cities plan risks leaving millions behind.

Pune Mirror, December 16th, 2014
Pollution in China worse than India, says study.

Motherboard, December 16th, 2014
India's Thirst for Coal Will Kill Millions.

Climate Central, Decmeber 16th, 2014
Electric Cars a Mixed Bag For Health, Climate.

RTCC, December 16th, 2014
Cheap coal poses climate and health dilemma for India.

The Guardian, December 16th, 2014
Inside Beijing's airpocalypse – a city made 'almost uninhabitable' by pollution.

Mother Nature Network, December 16th, 2014
Why sunrises are more amazing in winter.

The Hill, December 16th, 2014
Coal company: EPA climate rule is ‘expressly prohibited’ by law.

Economic Times, December 16th, 2014
1 out of 7 Delhiites owns a car, 1 of three a bike.

Courier Journal, December 16th, 2014
Understanding COPD.

Financial Express, December 15th, 2014
Comprehensive mobility plan for all cities advocated.

The Tribune, December 15th, 2014Air pollution causing respiratory diseases.

Science Daily, December 15th, 2014
Hazy road to Mecca.

Rush Lane, December 15th, 2014
10 lakh cars idling in traffic results in wastage of 2.5 lakh litres fuel everyday.

NPR, December 15th, 2014
Nations Agree To Deal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Science Daily, December 15th, 2014
Switching to vehicles powered by electricity from renewables could save lives.

The Gaurdian, December 15th, 2014
Coal demand set to break 9bn tonne barrier this decade.

The New York Times, December 15th, 2014
China’s Double-Edged Pact.

China Digital News, December 15th, 2014
Coal Addiction Brings Scourge of Black Lung.

Business Standard, December 13th, 2014
Tripura power projects' capacity to rise.

The Hindu, December 13th, 2014
Delhi’s Terrible Air Quality in Four Charts.

NPR, December 12th, 2014
Climate Sticking Point: Who Cuts And By How Much?

New York Times, December 12th, 2014
Philippines Pushes Developing Countries to Cut Their Emissions.

The Nation, December 12th, 2014
Coal plants best choice for now.

Phys.Org, December 12th, 2014
Air pollution down thanks to California's regulation of diesel trucks.

Times of India, December 12th, 2014
Check air pollution at home, WHO tells members.

The Hindu, December 12th, 2014
Delhi’s residents are breathing worse air than previously known.

Times of India, December 12th, 2014
Cars idle for 24% of time.

Economic Times, December 12th, 2014
Here's why coal may become an unattractive source of energy in the long run.

San Jose News, December 12th, 2014
Port of Oakland truck pollution drops 76 percent in black carbon.

WHO, December 12th, 2014
Health economics on air pollution substantiate policies that save lives and the environment.

Sunshine Coast Daily, December 11th, 2014
Conservation group says coal pollution will kill in India.

City Lab, December 11th, 2014
Paris Aims to End Its Pollution Misery by Cutting Out Cars.

Economic Times, December 11th, 2014
Even inside homes, Delhiites not safe from air pollution.

Economic Times, December 11th, 2014
No report from US embassy about Delhi's air pollution.

The Guardian, December 11th, 2014
EU plans to scrap laws on clean air and waste recycling.

New Delhi Times, December 11th, 2014
Heart patients should avoid traffic in rush hour.

Business Insider, December 11th, 2014
Everyone Is Waiting On India To Make A Move On Climate.

VoA News, December 11th, 2014
Making Cooking Stoves Safer Worldwide.

Times of India, December 11th, 2014
Air at public places badly polluted.

The Hindu, December 11th, 2014
How Delhi is losing the pollution battle.

Hindustan Times, December 11th, 2014
Air pollution causing discolouration of Taj Mahal.
 Times of India, December 11th, 2014
Rajasthan thermal plants exploit allocated coal before target.

Dhaka Tribune, December 10th, 2014
Faulty charcoal factories posing health hazard.

Archaeology, December 10th, 2014
Air Pollution Analyzed at India’s Taj Mahal.

Kantipur News, December 10th, 2014
Valley air worst during rush hour.

Times of India, December 10th, 2014India’s thermal power push will also spread death.

Economic Times, December 10th, 2014
Government may soon rationalise coal linkages of 40 power projects.

Business Today, December 10th, 2014
Coal stock shortages ease at thermal power stations.

Sierra Club, December 9th, 2014
India's ‘Airpocalypse’ Could Kill 229,000 People Every Year.

The Guardian, December 9th, 2014
How can 'carpocalypse' be avoided in Hanoi?

Press TV, December 9th, 2014
Air pollution causes ‘public health crisis’.

Climate Progess, December 9th, 2014
‘Coal Is A Dead Man Walking’: A Look Back At 2014.

Huffington Post, December 9th, 2014
India's 'Airpocalypse' Could Kill 229,000 People Every Year.

Huffington Post, December 9th, 2014
Clean Power Plan a Win All-Around.

Quartz, December 9th, 2014
This map shows where Indians will be killed by coal pollution.

Bloomberg, December 9th, 2014
NTPC Plans to Set Up Photovoltaic Projects Atop Thermal Plants.

Business Standard, December 9th, 2014
Rationalisation of Coal Linkages.

CNN, December 9th, 2014
Listen up Beijing. This is what you can learn from Los Angeles about fighting smog.

Economic Times, December 9th, 2014
Premature deaths due to emissions from thermal plants to rise two-three times in India.

Eco-Business, December 9th, 2014
Social enterprise helps city dwellers breathe easier for less.

CCTV America, December 9th, 2014
India’s power ambitions mean air pollution to soar.

The New Age, December 9th, 2014
Britain declares air pollution a 'public health crisis'.

Times of India, December 8th, 2014
Britain declares air pollution a 'public health crisis'.

Breaking Energy, December 8th, 2014
Energy News Roundup: Can China Reduce Coal Use? Waste-to-Energy Tech Wins Award & Oil Prices Creep Lower.

The City Fix, December 8th, 2014
Hundreds of cities poised to replicate Rio’s approach to measuring and reducing emissions.

The Diplomat, December 8th, 2014
China Takes Another Step Forward in War on Pollution.

Switchboard, December 8th, 2014
Three Key Questions About China's Climate Commitments.

BBC, December 8th, 2014
Air pollution 'causing deadly public health crisis'.

Times of India, December 7th, 2014
How the world keeps air clean.

Air Quality News, December 7th, 2014
UK nitrogen dioxide mortality figures due next year.

The Age, December 7th, 2014
Environment: Brooklyn tables $20m plan to clean up air, waterways.

Manila Standard, December 7th, 2014
Breathe in, breathe out.

Tribune, December 7th, 2014
Seasonal change: As mercury drops, residents throng hospitals in Pakistan.

Times of India, December 6th, 2014
R-Day: Will Obama breathe easy?

The Economist, December 6th, 2014
China’s rush to build nuclear power plants is dangerous.

The Telegraph, December 6th, 2014
Is this the end of coal?

The City Fix, December 5th, 2014
Friday Fun: These maps help to visualize the world’s urban growth.

City Lab, December 5th, 2014
A New Tool for Tracking Pittsburgh's Bad Air.

Asian Scientist, December 5th, 2014
South Asia’s Quest For More Livable Cities.

AllGov.India, December 5th, 2014
India has 13 of the 20 Most Polluted Cities in the World.

NRDC Switchboard, December 5th, 2014
Reducing Black Carbon Emissions is a Win-Win for Public Health and Climate in Latin America.

The Guardian, December 5th, 2014
Cutting carbon pollution is the key to curbing global warming.

The New York Times, December 5th, 2014
Q. and A.: Chip Jacobs on Struggling With Smog in Los Angeles and Beijing.

Times of India, December 5th, 2014
Air pollution affecting even foetal growth.

Times of India, December 5th, 2014
For owners, old vehicles still gold.

Times of India, December 5th, 2014
NGT seeks congestion tax, higher parking fee.

The Hindu, December 5th, 2014
NGT mulls hike in parking, vehicle registration fee.

Air Quality News, December 4th, 2014
Car industry backs ‘real’ testing, says Daimler official.

Reuters, December 4th, 2014
End of the road for Delhi's old cars as India battles smog.

Forbes, December 4th, 2014
Obama's Clean Power Plan Getting Dirtied But It Has Key Business Support.

Eco-Business, December 4th, 2014
Low-carbon urban transport boosts social and economic development.

New York Times, December 4th, 2014
Narendra Modi, Favoring Growth in India, Pares Back Environmental Rules.

The City Fix, December 4th, 2014Unlocking low-carbon growth through energy efficient cities.

NPR, December 4th, 2014
2014 To Be Warmest Year On Record, U.N. Weather Agency Says.

Zee News, December 4th, 2014
"Harsh" steps needed to check air pollution in Delhi.

Dhaka Tribune, December 4th, 2014
Air monitoring centre launched at Dhaka University.

Times of India, December 3rd, 2014
NGT won't take 'no' on phasing out old vehicles.

Business Standard, December 3rd, 2014
Power firms to increase focus on supercritical plants, green capacity.

7th Space, December 3rd, 2014
PM2.5 in Beijing - temporal pattern and its association with influenza.

India Today, December 3rd, 2014
Old vehicle ban triggers scrap mountain fear in Delhi.

Science Daily, December 3rd, 2014
Online tool to help cities in Great Lakes Region plan for climate impacts.

Hindustan Times, December 3rd, 2014
A healthy hearth makes for a healthy life.

Zee News, December 3rd, 2014
Air pollution in Delhi worst during winter.

Indian Express, December 3rd, 2014
NGT won’t back off on its order to ban 15-year-old vehicles.

Earth Justice, December 3rd, 2014
Clean Air Groups Deliver Eight Millionth Comment Supporting Cleaning Up Power Plants.

IBN Live, December 3rd, 2014
Delhi bans 15 year old vehicles: Can this be implemented?

This is Beijing, December 2nd, 2014Beijing collects $3m in pollution fines.

Phys.Org, December 2nd, 2014Chemists identify role of soil in pollution control.

Financial Express, December 2nd, 2014
Natural gas for India’s energy security.

The New York Times, December 2nd, 2014
The Next Big Climate Question: Will India Follow China?

The Hindu, December 2nd, 2014
Hazy order on Delhi's Pollution.

News Week, December 2nd, 2014Oopsie! $1 Billion in UN Funds to Fight Climate Change Built Coal Power Plants.

Trends, December 2nd, 2014
Iran’s daily commercial, household gas consumption increases by 35%.

Interfax, December 2nd, 2014
Rolling electricity blackouts in Ukraine.

OSU, December 2nd, 2014
Fighting Air Pollution in China with Social Media.

Global Times, December 2nd, 2014
Passengers learn to battle poor air quality underground.

Times of India, December 2nd, 2014
DIY pollution tests challenge govt data.

Reuters, December 1st, 2014
Eleven EU nations call for cleaner air, less waste.

TreeHugger, December 1st, 2014
Widely used cholesterol drug might accidentally protect against air pollution.

The Energy Collective, December 1st, 2014
Rising Pollution in the Developing World: Is India a Climate Protection 'Wild Card'?

Outlook, December 1st, 2014
Designers Developing 'Parasitic' Drones to Control Air Pollution.

Power Engineering, December 1st, 2014
Achieving Europe's energy targets "may be challenging".

Power Online, December 1st, 2014
Major Milestone Achieved In The Development Of Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Steam Power Plants.

Daily News, December 1st, 2014
India must think long term about carbon emission.

Global Times, December 1st, 2014
Shanghai people rug and mask up for winter.

China Times, December 1st, 2014
Beijing sees heavy smog over weekend.

ET Auto News, November 30th, 2014
NGT verdict: Over 29 lakh vehicles set to go off city roads.

Indian Express, November 30th, 2014
Fight for Your City, Says Charles Correa, in Bengaluru.

New York Times, November 30th, 2014
Plan Outlines Low-Carbon Future for Germany.

India Today, November 30th, 2014
Air pollution fifth biggest killer in India: EPCA.

Climate Progress, November 30th, 2014
World’s Most Polluted City Urged To Close Schools On Bad Air Days.

the Motley Fool, November 29th, 2014
Pollution Is Making Us Stupider.

The Times of India, November 29th, 2014
Expert panel report gives a breath of fresh air to Delhi.

Mehr News, November 29th, 2014
Energy ministry to dismantle old power plants in Iran.

Times of India, November 29th, 2014
Sunita & Salve alert SC to foul air in court.

Wall Street Journal, November 28th, 2014
Why the ‘War on Coal’ Doesn’t Exist.

Zig Wheels, November 28th, 2014
Vehicles older than 15 years to be banned in Delhi.

CSP World, November 28th, 2014
World Bank to provide 100 million households with clean cooking systems.

Xinhua Net, November 28th, 2014
Beijing issues smog alert.

Boston Globe, November 28th, 2014
Climate change talks offer India new opportunity.

The Economic Times, November 28th, 2014
India needs innovative measures to check air pollution.

The Nation, November 28th, 2014
India court slams Delhi’s worsening air pollution.

Business Standard, November 28th, 2014India needs innovative measures to check air pollution.

The Telegraph, November 28th, 2014
SC notice to Centre on car pollution.

Reuters, November 28th, 2014
China nears 'peak coal' as carbon and clean growth policies bite.

Power Engineering, November 28th, 2014
Hollande declares end of export credits for coal.

News in English, November 27th, 2014
Battle begins over coal on Svalbard.

Times of India, November 27th, 2014
Pollution checking drive in Bhagalpur, 25 vehicles seized.

Euro News, November 27th, 2014
Which countries in Europe cause the most air pollution damage?

TIME, November 27th, 2014
New Delhi, the World’s Most Polluted City, Is Even More Polluted Than We Realized.

Forbes, November 27th, 2014
Hardware Startups In Greater China Educate Consumers On Indoor Air Pollution.

Science Daily, November 27th, 2014
Impact of climate change on the soil ecosystem.

NPR, November 26th, 2014
Lower Ozone Standard Would Raise The Compliance Bar For Business.

NPR, November 26th, 2014
EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels.

Times of India, November 26th, 2014
Government drags feet on taking steps.

Bloomberg, November 26th, 2014
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenges To EPA’s Mercury Standards for Power Plants.

Times of India, November 26th, 2014
Car boom shows transport planning failed.

ECNS, November 26th, 2014
Air pollution reduces average life expectancy by 5.5 years in China.

Nation News, November 26th, 2014
Stop paying lip service to pollution.

Business Green, November 26th, 2014
How UK industrial pollution cost EU £69bn over five years.

Times of India, November 26th, 2014
Green court bans vehicles older than 15 years in Delhi.

Power Engineering, November 26th, 2014
Coal-fired power plant under construction in North Korea.

Xinhua Net, November 26th, 2014China's State Council passes draft law on prevention of air pollution.

Times of India, November 26th, 2014
Delhi choking on foul air, time to clean up.

Xinhua Net, November 25th, 2014
China's haze directly linked to gaseous pollutants from traffic, industrial emissions.

CNN, November 25th, 2014
Polluting factories cost Europe $235 billion.

Indian Express, November 25th, 2014
Paper war on pollution.

WHO, November 25th, 2014
Indoor air quality guidelines: household fuel combustion.

Economic Times, November 25th, 2014
Power supply deficit declines to one of the lowest levels this year.

The Eagle, November 25th, 2014
Texas A&M meteorology researchers part of Beijing pollution study.

Xinhua Net, November 25th, 2014
Beijing issues air pollution alert.

National Geographic, November 25th, 2014
In Climate Talks, Spotlight Turns to India.

The Hindu, November 25th, 2014
Exposing Delhi’s air pollution, from the back of an autorickshaw.

Breaking Energy, November 24th, 2014
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Power Cycles Starting to Hit the Market.

Energy Central, November 24th, 2014
Egat says more coal-fired power plants needed in Thailand.

Times of India, November 24th, 2014
Waste-burning thickens smog cover over NH-24.

Mining Weekly, November 24th, 2014
South Africa coal-related R&D inadequate – ASSAf.

Global Times, November 24th, 2014
‘APEC blue’ or economic growth, a tricky choice for now.

New York Times, November 24th, 2014
Beijing Considers How to Harness the Wind to Blow Away Pollution.

Huffington Post, November 24th, 2014
China's Air Pollution Solution.

Global Times, November 23rd, 2014
Coal firms under pressure as contract talks begin.

The New York Times, November 23rd, 2014
In Delhi, Pushing Through the Wall (of Air Pollution).

The Guardian, November 22nd, 2014
London must move faster on air pollution.

Bloomberg, November 21st, 2014
EU Risks Blackouts Without Clean-Coal Inducement.

Power Engineering, November 21st, 2014
Coal to remain dominant despite decline says report.

The World Bank, November 21st, 2014
New Partnership to Help Bring Clean Cooking to 100 Million Households by 2020.

BBC, November 20th, 2014
China's growing demand for Turkmenistan's gas.

Asia One, November 20th, 2014
Beijing to build air corridors to blow away pollution.

New Scientist, November 19th, 2014US and China's emission cuts may not be enough.

The New York Times, November 17th, 2014
Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change.

NPR, November 14th, 2014
China Agrees To Pollution Limits, But Will It Make A Difference?

The Guardian, November 10th, 2014
The real story of US coal: inside the world's biggest coalmine.

Trans-Report, October 17th, 2014
Major Ports traffic increase by 4%.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Delhi - 1 in 7 Own a Car and 1 in 3 Own a Motorcycle

One out of seven Delhiites owns a car on an average while one of three persons has a bike in the national capital, as per a Delhi Government report. According to the statistical report released today, more than 24.74 lakh cars and jeeps plied in the national capital in the period between April 2012 and March 2013, and their number increased by 1.55 lakh to 26,29,343, in 2013-14. A total of 5.19 lakh new vehicles hit the city roads in 2013-14 as against 3.36 lakh in 2012-13.

As per Census 2001-2011, the population of the national capital is around 1.67 crore. "On an average, out of seven Delhiites, one person has his own car or jeep while of three persons, one city resident possesses one bike or scooter in the national capital," the report said. The report also stated that as on 2013-14, there were 78,686 taxis while 40,947 buses, including ambulances, plied in the national capital. According to the Delhi government, there are 91,840 auto-rickshaws reported till 2013-14, up from 86,838 in the previous year.

Dismayed at the increasing level of air pollution in Delhi, the National Green Tribunal had on November 26 barred all vehicles which are over 15 years old from plying in the national capital. More than 29 lakh vehicles will go off the roads following the NGT order banning such vehicles.

Read more at Economic Times

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Vehicles Idle More Than 20% of the Time in Delhi

An IIT-Delhi study has revealed that vehicles in the capital don't run but crawl for a considerable part of their travel time. The research jointly carried out by Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program at IIT and Desert Research Institute, Reno, has used GPS logs of buses as well as speed and fuel consumption readings of two-wheelers, three wheelers and cars to arrive at some shocking findings. Cars were found to be running at less than 4 kmph for 24% of the travel time. While travelling at this speed certainly defeats the purpose of using a motorized mode of transport, it also pollutes the city's air immensely.

If one considers more than a million cars running at similar speed, they may be wasting about 2.5 lakh litres of fuel every day while idling at traffic snarls. The emissions from such long idling time are obviously massive.

For buses, the research team used GPS logs for two days (November 1-2, 2012) from 941 state buses covering most of Delhi's road network. The GPS data for buses is archived by DIMTS. A similar centralized system is not available for other transport modes, so the team collected data using a "floating car method". A mix of 10 professional car drivers, 20 professional three-wheeler drivers and three researchers using two-wheelers drove around the city with a GPS device on the dashboard between 6am and midnight. The total distance covered during the exercise was 2160 km for cars, 1,210 km for three-wheelers and 650 km for two-wheelers. Of the total travel time of vehicles, idling time for cars was found to be 24%, three-wheelers 18%, buses 37% and for two-wheelers it was 20%. The team defines idling to be the time spent by the vehicle running at less than 4 kmph speed.

 Read more @ Times of India

Friday, December 12, 2014

NOx and PM Pollution Down by 30%, if Personal Vehicles are Cut by 50% in Paris

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

If these plans sound drastic, it’s because the problem is, too. Central Paris is still traffic-snarled and often overlaid with toxic fug, evidence of a pollution splurge that the French press claims reduces the average Paris metro area citizen’s life expectancy by six months. In the past year, Paris has already taken some unprecedented measures to combat the problem. During a pollution spike this March, the city went as far as banning cars with odd-numbered license plates from entering Paris proper in a bid to cut city traffic. Coupled with free public transport, this measure had a perhaps surprising effect: It actually worked, with nitrogen dioxide and particulate levels dropping hard—by as much as 30 percent in places.

Real time air quality information from European Cities.

Since coming to power in March, Hidalgo has kept on a roll with anti-pollution measures to back up this tough stance. She’s already started getting rid of city buses that run on diesel, a particular national bugaboo in France because previous state policies heavily promoted its use. Now its greater particulate and nitrogen dioxide emissions have provoked an official backlash, and Paris wants engines burning the fuel off the roads. It’s only fair to point out that by creating 25 percent of Paris’ particulate pollution, road transport is just one source of the city’s problem. Another substantial chunk—23 percent in total—comes from heating with wood fires. You might expect the city to deal with this problem first—and in fact, they have. As of January 1, 2015, all wood fires will be banned within Paris proper.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Air Pollution at Public Places in Delhi is Getting Worse

The air you are breathing through the day may be far worse than what the government's pollution monitoring tells you. Because we often spend long hours near emission sources--on footpaths, along heavily congested roads, in an autorickshaw in peak traffic and even in parks during morning walks.
To assess what our real exposure may be like, TOI, in association with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), spent a day monitoring hourly PM 2.5 (fine, respirable particles) on CSE's portable air quality monitoring device in front of schools, hospitals, shopping areas and traffic cop booths.

The idea was to understand what kind of air pollution levels children on their way to schools or patients outside hospitals may be exposed to. The hourly PM 2.5 averages logged at these locations were compared with the ambient air quality monitored by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC)'s monitoring stations near the locations.

The results were very disturbing -outside Mother's International School on Aurobindo Marg, for instance, the average for 8 am to 9 am was 718 micrograms per cubic metre! While there is no official safe standard for an hourly average, the 24-hour average for PM 2.5 in India is about 60 micrograms per cubic metre. Inside All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) campus, between 9.10 am and 10.10 am, the hourly average was 493 micrograms per cubic metre. Considering that patients with low immunity go to the hospital, they may be exposing themselves to more complications in such conditions.

Read more @ Times of India

Air Pollution Sources Analyzed Near Taj Mahal

The discoloration of the Taj Mahal, a seventeenth-century mausoleum built by Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is caused by airborne carbon particles and dust, according to a study conducted by scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, the Archaeological Survey of India, and the University of Wisconsin.
Read more @ Archaeology

The scientists took air samples at the site, and placed pieces of marble near the main dome. After two months, the samples were collected and analyzed with an electron microscope. “Our team was able to show that the pollutants discoloring the Taj Mahal are particulate matter: carbon from burning biomass and refuse, fossil fuels, and dust—possibly from agriculture and road traffic. We have also been able to show how these particles could be responsible for the brownish discoloration observed,” said Michael Bergin of Georgia Tech.

The monument is routinely cleaned with clay to maintain the brightness of the marble, but until now, there had not been a systematic study of the causes of the discoloration. “Some of these particles are really bad for human health, so cleaning up the Taj Mahal could have a huge health benefit for people in the entire region,” Bergin added. To see photographs of another iconic Indian site, see "The Islamic Stepwells of Gujarat."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Health Burden of Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants in India

The Indian government’s plans to expand its coal-based power production could result in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths by 2030 due to increase in emissions. A new report (PDF) by Mumbai-based non-profit, Conservation Action Trust, and Urban Emissions, an independent research group, estimates that in another 15 years between 186,500 and 229,500 people may die premature deaths annually as a result of a spike in air pollution caused by coal-fired power plants. Asthma cases associated with coal fired power plants, the report added, are also expected to grow to 42.7 million by 2030. That is roughly one in every thirty persons in the country. Article first appeared @ Quartz

Last month, India’s power Minister Piyush Goyal announced his ambitious plans of doubling domestic coal production by 2019 and provide 24×7 electricity to households and businesses nationwide. With such aggressive expansion plans, the report estimates that  coal generation capacity is set to increase 300% from 159 gigawatts (GW) currently to 450 GW in 2030. This increase would be achieved by trebling India’s coal consumption from 660 million tonnes (MT) to 1800 MT a year, while yielding a similar jump in annual carbon emissions.
Outdoor air pollution has largely been ignored in the country. A recent WHO report ranked Delhi as the most polluted city in the world, along with 12 other Indian cities in the top 20. But there seems to be little in the way of strong policy that the government is keen on introducing. The air pollutants typically includes sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide and particulate matter, which are categorised as PM2.5 and PM10. Particles of less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) should ideally not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic metre as per WHO standards. At its worst, Delhi recorded 153 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre, a staggering 1500% greater than permissible levels.

Coal-fired power generation contributes roughly 15% of the annual PM2.5 emissions and approximately 50% of the Sulphur dioxide emissions. Given India’s coal expansion plans, the emission of these pollutants is set to double, the report notes. But there is a way to control this crisis, without stifling power generation, the report suggestions. Enforcing the use of Flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) to scrub out the highly toxic sulphur during or after the burning of coal could bring down premature deaths by as much as 50% annually.

India also doesn’t have any emissions standards to limit the amount of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides belched out by power generation units. Coupled with a lack of effective monitoring systems, power generators and other industries have had a free ride in the country so far. With the proposed dilution of environmental norms, it is hard to see if stringent emissions standards will ever be introduced in the country. The report also recommends changes in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of coal-fired power plants that will mandate the project proponents to consider impacts beyond a 10 kilometer radius of the site.

In monetary terms, the report estimates that, utilising FGD technology could reduce healthcare related costs by between Rs12,200 crore and Rs20,300 crore. But that it will also save thousand of lives across the country is perhaps a more urgent reason to consider its enforcement.

Britain Declares Air Pollution as a "Public Health Crisis"

Britain on Monday declared air pollution a "public health crisis" with the Environmental Audit Committee warning that air pollution in the UK kills nearly as many people as smoking does.

This has led to a recommendation that new schools, hospitals and care homes must not be built next to air pollution hotspots to help reduce the tens of thousands of deaths currently being caused by nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate pollution every year. Existing schools next to busy roads should also be fitted with air filtration systems, EAC committee chief Joan Walley said.
There are an estimated 29,000 deaths in the UK from air pollution each year.

Read more @ the New Age

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Struggling with Smog in LA and Beijing

“Choking,” “post-apocalyptic” or just “crazy bad,” Beijing’s air pollution problem is obvious to anyone who spends more than a little time in the city. In a survey by the Pew Research Center last year, 47 percent of Chinese respondents cited air pollution as a “very big problem,” comparable to corruption and income disparity. The figure was up from 36 percent in 2012. But Beijing is also not the only city to have faced dire pollution. On a recent visit to Beijing, Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, reminded participants at a seminar at Peking University that America’s second-most-populous city also once wrestled with foul air.

“Our first smog attack came during World War II, and it was so bad that some thought it was a chemical weapons attack by Japanese forces,” Mr. Garcetti said. He listed rapid population growth and an increase in the number of motor vehicles as contributors to environmental woes in both Beijing and Los Angeles.

Beijing's Marathon Masked with Air Pollution !!

Another who has drawn parallels between the two cities’ fight for clean air is Chip Jacobs, an author based in Los Angeles who has written extensively about this “hazy brotherhood.” In 2008, Mr. Jacobs and William J. Kelly, a senior correspondent at California Current, an energy publication, wrote “Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles.” Now they have turned their attention to China in “The People’s Republic of Chemicals,” the story of how the country finds itself, in the authors’ words, “a toxified netherworld.” A Chinese edition is set for release next year by the Central Party School Publishing House. In an interview, Mr. Jacobs discussed Beijing, Los Angeles and the role of the public in battling smog:

Curbing Coal Consumption in Beijing

Without getting all statistical, a metropolis’s air pollution tends to be a direct reflection of that city’s culture. Los Angeles since the early 1900s, well before the ribbon-cutting for the first freeway, was designed for the automobile. People migrated here from the East Coast, searching for wider spaces, less vertical apartment living and personal mobility. That’s one reason Southern Californians owned more cars per capita than anywhere else, and the prime cause of smog. Uncombusted fumes from car tailpipes produce hydrocarbons that react in bright sunshine with other gases, especially nitrogen oxide, to form ozone, the chemical that aggravates breathing and causes multiple health problems. Note: Ozone, being invisible, is not what creates that gray overhang.

IBM Mapping Air Pollution in Beijing in Search of Effective Management

Now, let’s turn to China, where the bulk of the air pollution emanates not from ozone, but rather from sulfur and particulate matter spewed by coal-burning equipment, from power generators and heavy industry — cement, smelters, ironworks, hard-goods manufacturing. My concern is that while President Xi Jinping agreed for China to cap its coal consumption by 2030, the country could have 400 million cars by then, meaning that the country could be just swapping one sort of smog for another.

Local Sources are More Responsible for Air Pollution in Beijing

Already, Americans are feeling that in regular plumes of Chinese ozone uplifted onto the jet stream, aimed right at the U.S. West Coast. Some days in Los Angeles, one-quarter of our ozone was “made in China.” Think about the irony of that, given our evolving understanding that a third of China’s greenhouse gases are produced manufacturing Western goods.

Read more of the interview @ New York Times