Thursday, October 29, 2015

Supreme Court Plea to Ban Fireworks during Diwali in Indian Cities

A complete ban on firecrackers during Diwali will not be imposed, the Supreme Court said today, rejecting a plea filed over concerns of increasing air pollution in India's major cities. Reiterating its 2005 ruling that allows bursting crackers between 6 am and 10 pm, the Court asked the government to publish ads warning about the harm from crackers. Pulling up the Centre for failing to publish advertisements from October 16, the court directed the government to run the ads from October 31 to November 12. Diwali falls on November 11 this year. More @ NDTV

In a plea filed in the name of three toddlers by their parents, the petitioners sought a restriction on bursting firecrackers in the morning and also argued there should be a designated place for nursting crackers. However, turning the plea down, the Supreme Court said, "Everyone wants to burst crackers in front of their houses and they can say it is their right. Can we ask them to go to Nehru Maidan to burst crackers. We can't do that."

A fringe group and a cracker manufacturers' association had moved the Supreme Court, opposing the ban on crackers during Diwali, contending that it would affect the Hindu tradition and hurt religious sentiments. The Centre has also indirectly supported them, saying bursting of crackers during Diwali is not the only cause for air pollution. In its petition, the fringe group from Tamil Nadu's Sivakasi said fireworks are a means of celebrations across the world. "Crackers are burnt during Diwali, Independence Day, New Year, Christmas, victories in games and elections, marriages etc. These celebrations cannot be thwarted by unfair restrictions," it said. Pointing to the Rs. 1,000 crore turnover of the industry, the Cracker Manufacturers' Association said it provides direct employment to over 3 lakh people and indirect employment to 10 lakh. "Any adverse direction against the use of crackers during Diwali will have a disastrous effect on the entire fireworks industry and on the livelihood of lakhs of people," the petition read.

Friday, October 09, 2015

It Will Take 9 Years to Clean Taj Mahal

Years of air pollution have stained India's Taj Mahal, turning its once-white marble facade into an unsightly yellow. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is using a 'mudpack therapy' to clean the pollution -- but the project will be a lengthy one, with the Times of India reporting it could take up to nine years to complete. Once finished, the process will have to be repeated every 6-7 years if pollution in the area remains at the same level. The cleaning of the interior has not been included in the plan.

In late 2014, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin, the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur and the Archaeological Survey of India teamed up to analyze the effects of pollution on the Taj Mahal. "Our team was able to show that the pollutants discolouring the Taj Mahal are particulate matter: carbon from burning biomass and refuse, fossil fuels, and dust - possibly from agriculture and road traffic," Michael Bergin, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says in a statement. According to the BBC, pollution from a nearby oil refinery in the nearby city of Agra is exacerbating the situation.

Read more @ Weather Network

Air Pollution in the Prairies

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

More Than 80,000 Trucks Passing Through Delhi Everyday (CSE)

Massive numbers of commercial vehicles entering and leaving Delhi: On a daily basis, some 38,588 commercial vehicles (excluding taxis) enter Delhi only from the nine locations. If this is extrapolated to the 127 entry points, then a total of 52,146 commercial vehicles (excluding taxis) enter Delhi. The survey had measured vehicles in both directions. And while it is difficult to know if the same vehicle has entered and then left Delhi on the same day, it is clear that the total number has an imprint on Delhi’s air as these vehicles will traverse through the city. The daily average numbers of light and heavy goods vehicles that enter and exit from the nine points are 85,799. The total number of commercial light and heavy duty trucks entering and leaving the city is 115,945 each day.

Read more @ CSE

The MCD estimate of the number of trucks crossing Delhi borders is grossly underestimated and is unreliable for calculating pollution load from trucks: According to MCD data, on an average only 22,628 commercial vehicles, excluding taxis, enter Delhi each day from nine entry points, as against the 38,588 commercial vehicles counted by CSE survey – almost 16,000 vehicles less. This is an underestimate of about 70 per cent in the number of trucks entering from the nine entry points.

Thus, according to the MCD, the total number of light and heavy trucks that enter Delhi everyday from all entry points is 30,373. This is even lower than what the CSE survey counted at nine entry points. Thus, MCD data on daily average truck entry is an underestimation by an astounding 70 per cent. The gap in different entry points varies in the range of 50-96 per cent. The survey establishes that the official numbers of truck entry into the city are a gross underestimation and they end up seriously under-estimating the health impact of these vehicles in the city.

Enormous contribution to pollution load: Delhi’s own vehicles are responsible for 62 per cent of the particulate load from the transport sector and 68 per cent of the NOx load. The total number of light and heavy trucks that enter Delhi spew close to 30 per cent of the total particulate load and 22 per cent of the total nitrogen oxide load from the transport sector.