Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3 Infants Seek Ban on Firecrackers from the Supreme Court

"Our lungs have not yet fully developed and we cannot take further pollution through bursting of crackers," said three infants in their petition before the Supreme Court seeking a ban on crackers this Dussehra and Diwali besides a host of measures like implementation of Bharat V norms for vehicles to arrest the capital's worsening air quality. Read more @ Times of India

In a first of its kind petition in judicial history, the infants - two six-month-olds Arjun Gopal and Aarav Bhandari and 14-month-old Zoya Rao Bhasin - moved the SC through their advocate fathers to seek several measures to mitigate pollution and exercise their right to clean air guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court Rules permit minors to file petitions for the protection of their fundamental rights through their parents and guardians who term themselves as 'next friends'. The immediate provocation for the filing of the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution was the crackers that would go up in a burst of sound, flame and smoke during the coming festive season.

The petitioners sought the SC's immediate intervention "against inevitable and upcoming widespread use of firecrackers and fireworks and other products of the same classification, especially during Dussehra and Diwali, but thereafter in all other events and festivities as well". They also wanted measures to check pollution hazards like burning crop residues, polluting vehicles and open waste disposal. They said, "Over the last two years, Delhi has retained the unique distinction of being the most polluted city in the world. The levels of particulate matter are highest, and across the country, over 7 lakh deaths occur annually due to air-pollution related diseases.

"Studies show that Indian citizens have 30% lower lung capacity than Europeans, and that children are the worst affected, as their lungs have not yet fully developed and their systems are vulnerable. In Delhi, a majority of the pollution is caused by over 500 million tonnes of crop residue burnt annually in neighbouring areas, by polluting trucks that pass through the city during the night, road dust and pollution from industries.

"To add to this, the smoke from bursting of crackers in the months of October and November during the festivals of Dussehra and Diwali virtually clogs the atmosphere, substantially increases the pollution level and magnifies the risk of contracting lung diseases." They said every year, the adverse impact of pollution gets debated and forgotten as the lethargic government machinery does little to protect citizens, especially infants and children, from the long-term toxic effects of deadly pollution enveloping the capital city. The infants also sought following directions from the court to the government on a ban on burning post-harvest crop residue, stringent action against those who dump dust, malba (concrete waste) and other pollutants and introducing Bharat-V emission norms for vehicles.

AUTO !! - 3-Wheeler Operations in Hyderabad

Thursday, September 24, 2015

India's Doctors Blame Air Pollution for Sharp Rise in Respiratory Diseases

A sharp rise in cases of chest and throat disease in India is being blamed by doctors on worsening air pollution in the country, which is now home to 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. According to India’s National Health Profile 2015, there were almost 3.5m reported cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) last year, a 140,000 increase on the previous year and a 30% increase since 2010.

Read the article @ the Guardian

The number of ARI cases has risen steadily in India over the last 15 years, even when population growth is taken into account. In 2001, less than 2,000 cases per 100,000 people had an ARI. In 2012 the number was 2,600 per 100,000, statistics show. The rise has occurred despite steady improvements in medical care and nutrition, as well as a shift away from using wood as fuel in rural areas. Together this has mitigated many factors long blamed for the high levels of respiratory diseases in India.

Moratily Due to Air Pollution in Delhi - 80 per day !!

Doctors are blaming the increasing severity of the problem on unprecedented decline in air quality across India. “Due to the awareness drives conducted about diseases like swine flu and influenza, people have become more aware ... Yet air pollution is playing a major role in [increasing] the numbers of such diseases,” Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital, told the local India Today news magazine. Attention to the problem of air pollution in India has so far focused almost exclusively on the capital. One study found that half of Delhi’s 4.4 million schoolchildren would never recover full lung capacity.

At Least 11% Delhites Suffer from Asthma

In other cities across the country the problem was even worse. In Ahmedabad, in the west, levels of PM2.5s peaked at eight times the WHO limit for a 24-hour average. In Lucknow, in the north, levels reached seven times the limit. Levels of CO2, nitrogen dioxide and ozone in less known cities have also regularly exceeded WHO guidelines by huge margins. India has the highest rate of death from respiratory disease in the world, according to the WHO,. The rate was 159 per 100,000 in 2012, about 10 times that of Italy, five times that of the UK and twice that of China.

In Chennai - 250 Asthma and COPD Cases Registered Everyday

Officials in Chennai say they are aware of the problem, and point to measures from the new $3bn (£2bn) metro to the construction of traffic islands as evidence of their intent to tackle it. But similar mass transit systems across India do not have a significant immediate impact on pollution, experts say. Most are too small and have been built too late. Studies show that Delhi’s metro users previously travelled on buses, by bicycles or on foot, not in cars. One effective, and considerably cheaper, scheme in Chennai has been the introduction of minibuses on smaller roads between the major bus routes. “It has worked and been very popular,” said Narayan. 

The problem has a broader cultural aspect too. In India, as in the west in the 1950s and 1960s, cars bring not just mobility and convenience but are tangible symbols of social success. On a sheet of paper pinned to a wall of the spotless Alandar station, contented passengers have scrawled their impressions of Chennai’s month-old metro. “Very wonderful, fantastic, unforgettable,” they gush.

Friday, September 18, 2015

By 2025, nearly 32,000 People in Delhi will Die Annually due to Air Pollution

In another 10 years, Delhi will record the world's largest number of premature deaths annually due to air pollution among all megacities in the world. By 2025, nearly 32,000 people in Delhi will die solely due to inhaling polluted air. Read more @ Times of India

Delhi Air Pollution Related Deaths Up 100% Since 1991

However, it will be Kolkata that will record the highest number of such deaths annually by 2050. Kolkata will see the number of premature deaths spike between 2025 and 2050 and will record 54,800 deaths due to air pollution -more than Delhi (52,000) and Mumbai (33,100).

At Least 11% Delhites Suffer from Asthma

Together, these three cities topped the list of premature deaths due to harmful particles like PM2.5 and O3 in the air. Annually , 3.3 million people worldwide die prematurely from the effects of air pollution. This number will double by 2050 to 6.6 million if emissions continue to rise, according to a team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz. In 2010, 75% of such mortality occurred in Asia -1.4 million in China and 650,000 in India.