Wednesday, March 30, 2016

All Electric Fleet in India by 2030?

@ Auto.Com - India, one of the world’s largest car markets, has a very ambitious plan to completely get rid of fuel-powered vehicles by 2030. Is it realistic? Well, according to the Indian Times, there are currently about 50 million homes that don't have access to electricity across the country.

With a booming economy and over a billion people living in India, air pollution from traffic has become a serious concern. A small working group was created to assess different scenarios and possibilities for lowering costs, such as car-sharing initiatives.

"We don't need one rupee support from the government. We don't need one rupee investment from the people of India," Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. "We are working (on the plan). Can we actually give electric car for free (zero down payment) and people can pay for that out of the savings on the petroleum products. Innovation is possible, it just needs an open mind. You need to think of scale and be honest."

India has some experience in energy-saving programs. Goyal cited the example of LED lights where the government has been able to reduce the procurement price of these bulbs from the market rate of 310 rupees in February 2014 to 64.41 rupees in January 2016. Cheaper fans and air conditioners will soon follow.

Smoldering Mountains of Garbage in Delhi

@ NDTV - Despite a ban on the burning leaves and waste, three huge mountains of garbage have been smouldering for days near the outskirts of Delhi, expelling more toxic fumes in the world's most polluted city. Landfills at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bhalaswa cover around 150 acres of land and receive approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of garbage daily. Experts say small fires have been erupting at these sites because of spontaneous combustion caused by the release of methane on decomposition of unsegregated waste.

The burning which is happening at these land fill sites is leading to massive air pollution. Six months ago, we did a study. Out of the 50 to 60 sites we went to, 70 per cent samples also showed inorganic and organic contamination of water in these areas," said Swati Sambyal, a solid waste management expert at the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi.

Mohammad Shamim, who lives in the slums next to the Bhalaswa dump, said, "This place stinks and the water we get here is yellow. But we don't have a choice but to use it or we buy bottles. Most people here suffer from lung problems. I suffer from asthma." According to Delhi's municipal rulebook, landfill sites must not be used after 20 years. This year, the newest of the dumps will turn 20. The Ghazipur waste management plant is functional since 1984, Bhalaswa since 1994 and Okhla since 1996. The only functional waste to energy plant near the Okhla landfill creates 16 MW of energy each day by burning 2,000 metric tonnes of waste. But this only adds to the pollution, say experts.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Global Estimates of Particulate Matter Using Satellites, Models, and Monitors

@ Environment Science & Technology

Abstract: We estimated global fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations using information from satellite-, simulation- and monitor-based sources by applying a Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) to global geophysically based satellite-derived PM2.5 estimates. Aerosol optical depth from multiple satellite products (MISR, MODIS Dark Target, MODIS and SeaWiFS Deep Blue, and MODIS MAIAC) was combined with simulation (GEOS-Chem) based upon their relative uncertainties as determined using ground-based sun photometer (AERONET) observations for 1998–2014. The GWR predictors included simulated aerosol composition and land use information. The resultant PM2.5 estimates were highly consistent (R2 = 0.81) with out-of-sample cross-validated PM2.5 concentrations from monitors. The global population-weighted annual average PM2.5 concentrations were 3-fold higher than the 10 μg/m3 WHO guideline, driven by exposures in Asian and African regions. Estimates in regions with high contributions from mineral dust were associated with higher uncertainty, resulting from both sparse ground-based monitoring, and challenging conditions for retrieval and simulation. This approach demonstrates that the addition of even sparse ground-based measurements to more globally continuous PM2.5 data sources can yield valuable improvements to PM2.5 characterization on a global scale.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Block Sunlight to Stop Global Warming

Kathmandu Valley is Choking with Air Pollution

@ Himalayan Times - Constitution of Nepal has established ‘Right to Clean Environment’ as fundamental right of the citizens. It states, “Every person shall have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.” There is also a provision that ‘victims of environmental pollution or degradation shall be entitled to compensation from the polluter as provided in the law’.

The Environmental Protection Act and National Ambient Air Quality Standard require the government to create a healthy and clean environment for people. But the government lacks specific plans and programmes to control pollution to make the Valley a cleaner place to live and breathe in.

The capital city, which is bursting at the seams with population growing rapidly, with which comes rapid urbanisation, is choking on polluted air. Numbeo, a crowd-sourced global database, has ranked Kathmandu (score 96.66 out of 100) the third most polluted city in the world after Tetovo (Macedonia) and Cairo (Egypt) at Pollution Index 2016. The situation of air quality is worsening in the Valley with each passing day.

Sadly, the DoE, the pertinent government agency tasked with monitoring ambient air quality of the Kathmandu Valley and formulating and implementing policies accordingly, is ill-equipped. Six monitoring stations were set up to monitor ambient air quality of the Kathmandu Valley in 2002, but they went kaput in 2007 and since then the agency has been relying on international agencies for measuring air quality. Govinda Prasad Lamichhane, Environment Inspector at the DoE, said that the government, in collaboration with ADB-funded Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project and ICIMOD, had been preparing to set up nine state-of-the-art real time monitoring stations with display board in the Valley, within this fiscal.

“We have already concluded an agreement with KSUTP in this regard to set up four monitoring stations. DoE will invest in three and ICIMOD two stations. It will assist us in monitoring the air pollution and act accordingly,” he added. Lamichhane said the government was also promoting the use of emission free electric vehicles and monitoring brick kilns to improve the air quality.

Vehicular emission is the major cause for deteriorating air quality in the urban areas where vehicular emission is much aggravated by substandard or adulterated fuel, narrow and poorly maintained streets, poor traffic management, old vehicles and poor vehicular maintenance.

Hairy Nose - Change Air Pollution, Before it Changes You

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Deonar Dumpsite Burning (March, 2016)

The World Bank Approved $500 million Loan to Fight Air Pollution in and around Beijing

@ Reuters - The money is part of a broader program expected to reach $1.4 billion for "green financing" over the next six years that includes another half billion dollars from Hua Xia Bank Co Ltd and $400 million in equity contributions from sub-borrowers, the World Bank said.

China suffers from severe air pollution and is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. Some 70 percent of its electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, which are a major source of greenhouse gases.

The country aims to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by increasing the share of nuclear, hydro, wind and solar power, with the goal of cutting emissions of major pollutants in the power sector 60 percent by 2020.

China's Solution to Air Pollution Problems

The money will help companies in Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin and neighboring areas that are taking action to tackle air pollution under a prevention and control plan adopted by China's cabinet, the State Council, such as reducing coal consumption and lowering emissions. Beijing-based Hua Xia Bank will establish a Green Finance Center and pilot innovative financing models and products, it said.

Local Sources are More Responsible for Air Pollution in Beijing

Beijing frequently features near the top of the list of China's most polluted cities as emissions from vehicles and heavy industry combine with weather conditions to raise smog levels. The worst bouts of air pollution tend to coincide with periods of low wind.

Why Do We Need to Model Air Pollution?

An effective air quality management program requires reliable information on ambient air pollution with substantial spatial and temporal coverage. This information is commonly collected and collated via monitoring campaigns (stationary and mobile on ground systems and part support from the satellite measurements, which is new today). This is also an ideal database to statistically forecast what will be the pollution levels in the next 3-4 days, knowing how the pollution levels behaved in the past under similar meteorological conditions. However, this database is not enough to explain the highs and lows, source contributions, and spatial patterns of pollution. In such a case, especially when lesser number of monitors are covering the urban airshed, forecasts based on multi-pollutant chemical transport modeling systems is a necessity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Analysis of PM2.5 During the Odd/Even Weeks (January, 2016)

Check out the inforgraphic on Emissions Analysis for Odd/Even Days in Delhi

Mumbai's Vast Garbage Dump Burning

From Mr. Lalloobhoy Battliwala

Leaving aside the pretense and presumptuousness of the global dalliance with pretty or powerful women, urban air pollution will continue to kill from unmonitored sources - landfills, industry effluents, leaf-burning, other wastes, brick kilns, I could go on, (Vehicular emissions get counted with goofy emission factors and incomplete sales data because the anti-fossil fuel maniacs are gullible enough to see demons anywhere).

While the Neros play fiddles and experts do Water Boiling Tests. I have seen and inhaled landfill smokes. I have yet to see an epidemiological study on varying composition of pollutants, and differential toxicities according to population characteristics (changing rapidly over time as urban populations increase and so do land pressures).

Why bother?

@ Wall Street Journal - Mumbai's Vast Garbage Dump Burning

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mumbai Deonar Dumping Ground Again Under Fire

@ New Yorker - From above, the sprawling trash heap of Deonar (pronounced “Devnar”), in eastern Mumbai, resembles a large left ear. A curving stream traces its outer edge, feeding into Thane Creek, the body of water that separates the city from the Indian mainland. On the opposite side of the ear, where the head would be, is the teeming neighborhood of Shivaji Nagar.

In late January, Deonar erupted in fires. An arrowhead-shaped plume of smoke floated up from the three-hundred-and-twenty-six-acre site, carried aloft by northeasterly winds, and blanketed Mumbai. For six days, the city’s air-quality rating remained at “very poor,” with measurements of particulate matter exceeding safety standards by a factor of five. Seventy schools were closed, and hospitals were flooded with patients suffering from lung and heart ailments. (Air pollution contributes to more than six hundred thousand premature deaths in India every year.) The acrid smoke burned the eyes and throats of people from the Gateway of India, a monument at Mumbai’s southern tip, to Chembur, fifteen miles away, near the dump. Locals took to calling the neighborhood Gas Chembur. Read more...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New Smart Air Purifier Costs Only Rs. 3,399

Xiaomi's air purifier to be launched in India? A social enterprise built around an ethos of frugal innovation called Smart Air is disrupting the air purifier space in India with a DIY kit priced at Rs. 3,399, almost half the China price of the Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier 2 (the India price will likely be higher, if the product even launches here). What's more, the test results published on the Smart Air website claim it's as good as the most expensive brands in the market.

Xiaomi, no stranger to price disruptions, is one of the cheapest air purifiers in this category. Air purifiers are expensive in India - they range in price from nearly Rs. 17,000, up to Rs. 40,000. So how is Smart Air priced at Rs. 3,399? The company is also selling a one-year kit, with six HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, at just Rs. 8,394. Jay Kannaiyan, India Head at Smart Air Filters spoke to Gadgets 360, sharing the story of the company's origins and its operations in India, and its future plans.

"This is frugal innovation. People ask us why is this so jugaad? It's because we're breaking down this concept to its basics," he says. "It's just enough. It's not putting any glitz and glamour on it. It's minimalist. It has no buttons, no LED lights, and it just works."

Smart Air's founder, Thomas Talhelm, a PhD student in China experienced Beijing's 'Airpocalypse' in 2013, when starting looking at air purifiers to buy one to protect himself. Talhelm realised he needed one for each room, and replacement filters for each of them. It would pretty soon end up costing around Rs. 2 lakh. He realized that's crazy money for an average person to cough up, so then he researched purifiers and found out that there's nothing much in an air purifier, besides a HEPA filter and a fan.

So he sourced the HEPA filter from Chinese e-commerce website Taobao, strapped it to a fan, bought a Dylos laser particle counter, and verified that there was a dramatic drop in PM 2.5 particles within an hour. After running the same tests for 8 hours, he saw that the levels dropped to within the acceptable guidelines from WHO.

Read more @ NDTV Gadgets 360

New Car Sales Tax in India

@ The Guardian - India has introduced a new tax on car sales aimed at helping fight high levels of air pollution and congestion. The surprise move, announced by the finance minister, Arun Jaitley, is a victory for campaigners and a defeat for the powerful car industry.

The new tax imposes a 1% tax on cars less than four metres in length and with engines smaller than 1,200cc that run on petrol, liquified petroleum gas or compressed natural gas.Small diesel cars less than four metres long and with engines below 1,500cc will be taxed at 2.5%, and bigger diesel vehicles at 4%. It is estimated that the tax will generate 30bn rupees ($439m or £316m) in revenue for the government.

Commentators said the move showed how attitudes to car use had changed in India. “There are some things that are politically palatable now that were not before. Jaitley has seen there is political space and public support. Once Indians owning cars was seen as a sign of economic success. Now this sort of tax is seen as Indians being responsible,” said Samir Saran, of the Observer Research Foundation, a Delhi-based thinktank.

India is home to many of the most polluted cities in the world, with levels of harmful particles in Delhi, the capital, regularly exceeding European and US safe limits by 15 or 20 times. This is an important step forward,” said Anumita Roychoudhry, of the Centre for Science and Environment in Delhi. “[The] finance minister has finally integrated polluter pays principle with fiscal policy to slap a pollution [levy] on all cars [which] is more than double on diesel cars and four times more on SUVs compared to petrol cars. This is needed to address the fuel tax distortion in the market that favours polluting technologies and fuels like diesel.”

Saturday, March 19, 2016

IITM SAFAR App for Health Advisory on Air Pollution in Indian Cities

Research team of IITM has developed the "MobileApp" named "SAFAR-Air" to provide the Online metro Air Quality information Service in real time which is first mobile application service in India to provide current and 1 day advance forecast for air quality and related health advisories.

SAFAR home Page for Delhi, Pune, and other cities

SAFAR-App Flyer

Legendary Biofuels !!

Smog Jog from Beijing

@ NY Times - A morning run can be the perfect way to overcome jet lag, but usually not when it’s through the choking haze of auto exhaust and industrial discharge. In a Friday morning post, Facebook’s co-founder and chief executive,Mark Zuckerberg, announced his arrival in Beijing with a blithe message about what must have been a dizzying jog through the center of China’s capital, which has been suffering from a weeklong bout of hazardous air pollution.

“It’s great to be back in Beijing! I kicked off my visit with a run through Tiananmen Square, past the Forbidden City and over to the Temple of Heaven,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook, most likely using a virtual private network to get around the Chinese government Internet filters, which block his site. In a photo accompanying the post, made about 10:30 a.m., Mr. Zuckerberg smiles alongside several running companions in front of the famous portrait of Mao Zedong that overlooks Tiananmen Square.

At 9 a.m. an air-quality monitor at the United States Embassy in Beijing calculated the level of PM2.5, ultrafine particles that damage respiration, at 305 micrograms per cubic meter. That level is deemed “hazardous” under American air-quality standards.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pigeon Air Patrol in London


It could seem like a bird-brained idea: relying on a team of pigeons to carry out scientific studies on air quality. But chances are, you've never seen a squad of pigeons wear backpacks quite like this.Meet London's Pigeon Air Patrol, a flock of "superbirds" measuring nitrogen dioxide in a city with some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.

Almost 9,500 people in the English capital die prematurely each year due to long-term exposure to polluted air, according to a report last year by King's College London. Globally, the number of air pollution-related deaths is closer to 7 million, a 2014 World Health Organization report said.Now a team of 10 trained pigeons is taking to the skies strapped with 25-gram sensors to measure the harmful emissions not always visible to the naked eye -- and, rather aptly, are tweeting the results.

Londoners can ask their feathered friends to track nitrogen dioxide levels in their area by tweeting @PigeonAir. The clever creatures, with a little help from researchers at Plume Labs, will then tweet back their readings, ranging from "moderate" to "extreme."

One of the pigeons -- which have names such as Norber, Coco and Julius -- will also be strapped with a GPS tracking device. A vet will be on hand to monitor the birds' well-being over three days of flights.The winged patrol was originally dreamed up by Pierre Duquesnoy and Matt Daniels of marketing agency DigitasLBi as part of Twitter's #PoweredByTweets competition last year, winning the "Solve a Problem" category. The patrol aims to boost a much larger campaign by Plume Labs to recruit 100 Londoners to carry out their own pollution monitoring -- though this one will be on the ground.

View from My Window in Beijing (CNN)

The view from Zou Yi's window is fickle. Some days he can see every detail of the Beijing Television skyscraper across the way. Some days he can hardly see it at all. Such is daily life for the millions who live under Beijing's polluted skies.

What makes Zou unique is his steadfastness in documenting the city's air quality -- every day for three years. Each morning before going to work, Zou first takes a picture of the skyscraper from his thirteenth floor living room. No matter whether it's an endearing blue sky or a hazardous haze, he posts the picture on social media along with the air quality index.

"I want the pictures to speak for me," Zou told CNN. He's assembled each year of images into a single composite, an at-a-glance record of Beijing's smog problem. "I do think that our government should do more, but people in our society also need to contribute. They need to be aware of the pollution and participate in the monitoring and improvement of air quality," Zou said.

Read more @ CNN

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Call for Open Air Pollution Information in India

In India, when it comes to air pollution, Delhi is the most talked about and the most studied city. And still, we put up our arms to claim that we really do not know how much the pollution is in the city, what is causing the pollution in the city, and where to start to control pollution in the city. This is an attempt to put things into perspective with a series of opinion pieces on these questions, on what Delhi (and its satellite cities) really need to improve, so that they can clear the tag of “the most polluted city in the world”

First in the series - How much is the pollution?

In case of Delhi, this knowledge is limited, for many reasons, and finance or technical capability is not one of them. Let us see how much information is available in real time and how much is truly accessible.

Of the data, we have access to, annual average PM2.5 pollution in Delhi is 150 micro-gm/m3, which is 4 times the Indian national standard and 10 times the World Health Organization guideline.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) (equivalent to a State Pollution Control Board) operates 6 continuous monitoring stations. A recent analysis of the data archives, by an independent media group, India Spend, estimated that for 2015, we have access to PM2.5 data for 30% of the hours. This is after accounting for all the missing hours and unexplained flat lines. The data from the stations is available online, but the archives are not easy to access. One can access the archives for one week at a time, but cannot download the data into excel or any other quickly usable format (like excel). There are online portals such as like AQICN and Plume Labs, who are accessing the data from DPCC website in real time, converting it into an Air Quality Index (AQI) and posting them on their web portals and mobile apps, but they do not share what they are archiving.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) (part of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, the Government of India) operates approximately 560 manual and 60 continuous across Indian cities, of which up to 10 each are in Delhi. The PM10, SO2, and NO2 data from the manual stations is available as monthly averages, as part of the CPCB annual report, released at least year after the data is collected, collated, and averaged. Their data portal, environmental data bank, has been unworkable for many years, where one could supposedly download the raw data from all the stations. The data from the continuous stations is available on CPCB’s real time data portal, but the archives are not easy to access and searches often return with no data. The online portals such as AQICN and Plume Labs are accessing, when available, the data from the CPCB website and broadcasting as AQI.

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) (an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Government of India) operates up to 10 continuous monitoring stations and report PM pollution data and AQI in real time, through their web portal and mobile apps, very consistently (in Delhi and other Indian cities). There is no public data access portal for their archives.

The US Embassy operates one PM2.5 monitoring station and the data archives are accessible as a simple excel file for anybody to download and use.

The India Spend, an independent media group, is operating 15 low cost particulate matter sensors and reporting the data as AQI in real time. There is no public data access portal for their archives. There are independent institutions and non-government organizations also operating units on their premises, data from which is often summarized in their journal articles.

Questions: Why DPCC, CPCB, and IITM are operating networks independently, archiving data independently, and reporting data independently, with no open (and easy) public data access protocols? If the data from the respective Ministry’s is supposed to be for public consumption, then why is it so hard to download and share the data from their portals under one umbrella such as “air pollution data for Delhi” for every ones consumption and scrutiny?

With limited access to data, when the World Health Organization (WHO), proclaims Delhi as the most polluted city in the world, we are left with only one argument – that statement is based on limited data that they can access and hence the statement cannot be true. Is Delhi not the most polluted city in the world? How do we correct this information? How can we be more informed?

What Delhi needs the most?

We cannot draw an administrative boundary around Delhi. Any given day, people move from East to West and North South, to and from the airport, bus stops, and railways, and anywhere in the area of 80 km x 80 km. This is what has come to know as the Greater Delhi region, part of the National Capital Region (NCR), which expands farther. Given the mix of diverse activities from small open fires to a multi-million plus vehicles to large power plants, a handful of monitoring stations at convenient locations will not be able to represent the pollution we breathe. The situation is even worse when the stations are operated independently and reporting data independently as their own averages.

What Delhi needs is at least 50 continuous monitoring stations, and at least 10 each in its satellite cities – Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Rohini, and Faridabad. More importantly, this data must be in the public domain in real time and have an easy access to the archives, so that a clear answer can be established to the question, “how much is the pollution” in the Greater Delhi region and “is Delhi really the world’s worst”.

Is it difficult to increase such capacity? Answer to that is most definitely, not.

The monitoring systems are available easily - worldwide and in India. The finance also seem to be accessible, given the scales of infrastructure spending in the Greater Delhi region.

For example, one continuous monitoring system costs approximately INR one crore base price, with a 10% operational cost every year. Let us assume another 10% for personnel and logistics overheads per year. So, for 10 years of operations, we have a cost of INR 3 crores per system. If we are looking at 100 stations (50 in the Delhi metropolitan area and 50 in the remaining Greater Delhi area), then we have a round figure of INR 300 crores for ten years.

A recent report by Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and the Centre for Science and Environment quoted that the new environmental toll collected from the trucks entering Delhi since November, 2015, is INR 100 crores and there is no clear understanding as to what to do with this green fund. This fund is only expected to grow with more trucks passing.

So, financing a smart and open monitoring network in Delhi shouldn’t be a problem.

Let us take a step back - a continuous monitoring station like the ones operated by DPCC, CPCB, and IITM, have the capacity to report about 15 pollutants and 5 meteorological parameters in real time. This adds to the fixed and the operational costs. We do have an option to cut back and focus on the one pollutant which has the most direct and immediate impact on our daily life – particulate matter (especially PM2.5). This will cut the costs to a third (at least) by using regulatory standard PM2.5 monitoring units instead of the continuous stations with everything. So, we could be operating at least 100 units measuring PM2.5 pollution across the Greater Delhi region in real time, reporting the data in a smart and an informed way in real time, giving access to the data archives in real time, for 10 years, at an estimated cost of INR 100 crores.

Let us look at the bigger picture. A similar estimate for all India, put the required finances at INR 7500 crores for operating on average 30 continuous monitoring stations per city, in 50 large cities, for 10 years. For 50 cities to be environmentally smart and report air pollution information and its severity in real time, for ten years, this is not a big sum. The cost of the Delhi metro system is approximately INR 75,000 crores, which is currently supporting less than 5% of the travel demand in the city. There are similar metro systems, either planned or already under construction, in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai and others. The proposed budget for the smart cities program is approximately INR 100,000 crores. According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, in 2015, the total consumption of petroleum products in India was 15.0 million metric tonnes per month. Which means a green cess of 50 Paisa per kg of petroleum products sold, will translate to INR 750 crores a month (or approximately INR 9000 crores per year) – enough to cover the estimated costs to operate a reliable and transparent air quality information management system in 50 cities for ten years.

Is it too much to ask, to put the air pollution data in the open forum, like the census fields, for everyone?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Improving Air Quality Monitoring in China


Beijing currently has 35 air quality monitoring stations, which measure major airborne pollutants including PM2.5 - particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns that is hazardous to health - and sulfur dioxide. 

"We usually replace the core filter membranes at most every two weeks to guarantee the accuracy of measuring," Jiang said, adding that during severe smoggy days they replace them more frequently. Using the real-time data, the center releases an hourly air quality index to the public. The municipal government will use the information to coordinate response efforts, including issuing red alerts, the highest emergency response.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Trash Burning in Mumbai - A Satellite View

@ New Yorker - From above, the sprawling trash heap of Deonar (pronounced “Devnar”), in eastern Mumbai, resembles a large left ear. A curving stream traces its outer edge, feeding into Thane Creek, the body of water that separates the city from the Indian mainland. On the opposite side of the ear, where the head would be, is the teeming neighborhood of Shivaji Nagar. 

In late January, Deonar erupted in fires. An arrowhead-shaped plume of smoke floated up from the three-hundred-and-twenty-six-acre site, carried aloft by northeasterly winds, and blanketed Mumbai. For six days, the city’s air-quality rating remained at “very poor,” with measurements of particulate matter exceeding safety standards by a factor of five. Seventy schools were closed, and hospitals were flooded with patients suffering from lung and heart ailments. (Air pollution contributes to more than six hundred thousand premature deaths in India every year.) The acrid smoke burned the eyes and throats of people from the Gateway of India, a monument at Mumbai’s southern tip, to Chembur, fifteen miles away, near the dump. Locals took to calling the neighborhood Gas Chembur. Read more...

Climate Change @ Oscars 2016