Monday, September 27, 2010

Air Pollution in Month of October is Getting Worse - Is Delhi Ready?

For the city of Delhi, an air quality index methodology was proposed and applied for six criteria pollutants - PM10, PM2.5, CO, NOx, SO2, and Ozone and analyzed for trends in the past three years of data. The AQI is reported on a scale of 0 to 500 and subdivided into six colored bins for easy understanding of the common person and the media. The results are not surprising, but the trends are alarming, given the Commonwealth Games are just around the corner to host. A complete report on the methodology and analysis is available as part of the SIM-air working paper series.

Between July 2006 and July 2010, the health standards are exceeded more often in Delhi than not - only on 37 percent of the days the standards were met, in the form of AQI. Most of often, the worst is observed during the winter months, starting in October and ending some time in February of the next year. The best air quality is often during the monsoon months, when most of the pollution is washed off in rain and the skies are cleaner and clearer.

Over the past four years, the month of October, which is crucial in the coming weeks, to host clean and clear Commonwealth Games, is getting worse. The Figure below presents a summary of the frequency of AQI colors observed for the month of October from 2006 to 2009. The value of 150 is considered threshold value for healthy air.

In Delhi Ready to Host Clean Air Games?
The growing number of vehicles and the demand for urban infrastructure is choking the cities pollution levels. The air quality in Delhi improved in the early 2000's due to a number of interventions, including the large scale conversion of the bus fleet and the 3 wheeler fleet from the conventional gasoline and diesel to compressed natural gas. However, the large increase in the demand for personal transport and construction activities reversed the trends.

A major intervention that Delhi is counting on is the extension of the metro rail system, to shift the motorized transport trends to the metro rail. The expected level of shift is uncertain, which depends on a number of factors, but it will very beneficial as the impact of air pollution on the human health and the ecosystem is increasingly been linked to the growing transport sector.

Following a half day workshop on May 10th, 2010, by Center for Science and Environment, where representatives form the government and academia were present to discuss options to better air quality during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, here is a list of 7 proposed measures
  1. Ensure procurement of buses and re-organization of public transport systems
  2. Advance BRT corridors, and the cycle and pedestrian ways
  3. Advance work on the bypass so that the truck traffic does not enter the city
  4. Take urgent steps for imposing congestion tax for controlling truck traffic within the city and increased parking charges for private cars so that there is restriction on travel
  5. Take steps to restrict private vehicle movement between cities – use of public transport to be encouraged
  6. Advance steps to control pollution from thermal power and industries
  7. Restrict private transport during the Games and take other steps to control pollution as part of contingency planning
While, these measures are more transport centric, city needs to fast implement multi-sectoral solutions to achieve better air during the Games. In case of Beijing, stringent regulations and policy measures were implemented, months in advance, to ensure clean air days before and during the 2008 Olympic Games. However, this remains a challenge in the Delhi authorities. Given that the Delhi Government can neither shut down industries nor stop half their in-use vehicle fleet during the CWG 2010, a series of innovative interventions could be introduced for fast and effective air quality management. Such as
  • Shut down part of the industries, depending on the meteorological and air quality forecasts (either daily and weekly)
  • Strict restrictions on garbage burning during the weeks (and after), especially the open burning for heating purposes in the residential areas
  • One way transport along the major corridors for better flow of the traffic
  • Some corridors are already dedicated for the movement of the athletes, but similar provisions should be made for passenger travel, which otherwise would result in increase in the congestion levels
  • Aggressive procurement of buses and incentives to promote the use of bus and metro rail systems
  • Promote telecommuting where possible, especially along the satellite cities like NOIDA and Gurgaon, which experiences the largest rush hour traffic during the week days
  • Promote wet sweeping of the all the major roads, at least once in two days to reduce the amount of dust loading and thus reduce the resuspension due to increasing vehicular movement
See the press coverage on air pollution in Delhi.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - September 26th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on September 12, 2010)

Economic Times, September 26th, 2010
High road tax, parking rates can reduce car use in Delhi.

Xinhua Net, September 25th, 2010
London faces a Beijing 2008.

Hindustan Times, September 25th, 2010
BEST buses fail pollution test.

Times of India, September 24th, 2010
CO in Delhi air prime concern.

Wall Street Journal, September 24th, 2010
Can Delhi Pull Off the Commonwealth Games?
Inquirer, September 21st, 2010
Metro Manila air quality worsening.

NY Times, September 20th, 2010
Developing Nations to Get Clean-Burning Stoves.

Hindustan Times, September 20th, 2010
LPG most polluting? Experts disagree.

Times of India, September 20th, 2010
Now, monster traffic jams hit Beijing.

The Hindu, September 18th, 2010
A depot for 1,000 buses for the Games.

Earth Observatory, September 18th, 2010
Drought and Air Quality in August 2010.

Bloomberg, September 17th, 2010
China Is Set to Lose 2% of GDP Cleaning Up Decades of Pollution.

People's Daily China, September 6th, 2010
Serious pollution ails 20% of Chinese cities, auto exhaust main source.

Science Daily, September 16th, 2010
Optimizing Climate Change Reduction.

People's Daily, September 16th, 2010
Air pollution more hazardous indoors than outdoors.

Inquirer, September 16th, 2010
DENR issues new limits on vehicular emissions to cut air pollution in Philippines.

Science Daily, September 15th, 2010
Self-Organizing Traffic Lights.

Deccan Herald, September 15th, 2010
India’s ‘slumdog’ reality.

Times of India, September 15th, 2010
Wall Street Journal, September 14th, 2010
Suzlon Plans China Export Hub.

Climate-L, September 14th, 2010
EEA Reports Decline in EU GHG Emissions.

Climate-L, September 14th, 2010
ADB Outlines Climate Change Priorities in Asia and the Pacific.

Washington Post, September 14th, 2010
Dust blows in from the ends of the Earth, even beyond.

Green Bubble, September 13th, 2010
The Financial Impact of Hong Kong Air Pollution.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Air Pollution - A Primary Concern for CWG 2010 in Delhi

Also see

New Traffic Rules during the CWG 2010 in Delhi

Times of India, October 5th, 2010
Traffic police site to give updates on roadblocks.

Also see

Air Pollution Alerts - September 12th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on September 05, 2010)

InfoChange, September, 2010
Public transport vs personalised transport in India.

IPS, September 10th, 2010
Local Decisions Have Big Impact on Ecosystems.

Science Daily, September 10th, 2010
Main Climate Threat from Carbon Dioxide Sources Yet to Be Built.

Science Daily, September 10th, 2010
New Report Seeks to Improve Climate Forecasts.

New Mexico Independent, September 10th, 2010
Reducing coal power plant pollution will save lives.

CNN, September 9th, 2010
5 eco issues that could cripple India.

Mirror, September 9th, 2010
White roofs are cool.

Environmental Technology, September 9th, 2010
Air quality in Hong Kong 'at all-time low'.

Times of India, September 9th, 2010
IITM ready with Delhi's air pollution report.

Science Daily, September 9th, 2010
Energy Technologies Not Enough to Sufficiently Reduce Carbon Emissions.

Reuters, September 8th, 2010
Record Hong Kong air pollution sparks protest.

Science Daily, September 8th, 2010
Satellite Data Reveal Seasonal Pollution Changes Over India.

CNN, September 7th, 2010
Ship firm floats plan to cut Hong Kong smog.

RSC, September 7th, 2010
In full flight: making cruise emissions count.

Los Angeles Times, September 7th, 2010
Garbage-to-energy? California has second thoughts.

Shanghai Daily, September 6th, 2010
200m cars forecast for China's roads by 2020.

People's Daily, September 6th, 2010
Serious pollution ails 20% of Chinese cities, auto exhaust main source.

Environmental Technology, September 6th, 2010
China 'needs to do more to improve air quality on roads'.

The Hindu, September 6th, 2010
Don't fight dust, hedge it.

DNA India, September 6th, 2010
Don't allow black-and-yellow cabs to fade out.

Science Daily, September 2nd, 2010
Ozone Depletion: Paving the Way for Identification of Rogue CFC Release.

US EPA, August 31st, 2010
EPA and NOAA scientists test tools’ ability to forecast local ozone.

China Dialogue, August 27th, 2010
“China’s interests must come first”.

MoNRE, August 24th, 2010
HCMC City’s clean buses to be refueled.

MoNRE, August 20th, 2010
Polluting factories lack of land, capital stalls relocation process.

The Hindu, August 11th, 2010
Bus Karo in India.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Air Pollution Alerts - September 5th, 2010

News & Information; Every Sunday
(Last on August 29, 2010)

Times of India, September 3rd, 2010
As cities grow, transportation plans must head for the future.

On Earth, September 3rd, 2010
On The Bumpy Road To Livable Streets In India.

The Independent, September 3rd, 2010
Fuelling transport's revolution.

Bloomberg, September 2nd, 2010
Hong Kong's Pollution Above `Very High' for Sixth Day in Central District.

NPR, September 2nd, 2010
Foreign Policy: China's Traffic Jam Has Heart Of Coal.

European Parliament, September 2nd, 2010
MEPs back unspent money for local energy & transport investment.

The Hindu, September 2nd, 2010
Centre's carrot-and-stick policy for States on pollution control in India.

The Economist, September 2nd, 2010
Climate-change assessment - Must try harder.

Science Daily, September 2nd, 2010
Decrease in Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions; CO2 from China, India on the Rise.

CNN, September 1st, 2010
Guess who wants a carbon tax?

YubaNet, September 1st, 2010
Fine particle air pollution responsible for 9,000 premature deaths in California each year.

The Telegraph, September 1st, 2010
Dream wheels all set to roll out in Bhunaneswar and Puri.

Orissa Dairy, August 31st, 2010
Orissa to buy 125 busses to operationalise city Bus service for Bhubaneswar, Puri.

Tree Hugger, August 31st, 2010
Tapping the Energy Below the Earth's Surface.

Press Information Bureau, August 31st, 2010
MOEF Introduce Pat System to Control Air Pollution Pilot Projects in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Science Daily, August 31st, 2010
Shifting Ozone Hole Exposed South America to More Ultraviolet Light in 2009.

Climate-L, August 31st, 2010
Information and Communication Technologies as a Tool to Combat Climate Change.

The New Nation, August 31st, 2010
Green tech set for making less pollutant brick fields.

Times of India, August 30th, 2010
International cycling event touted as CWG trial flops.

X-Prize, August 30th, 2010
The Government of India and IIT Delhi Announce Partnership to Create Global Competition to Develop Clean-Burning Cookstoves.

Boston.Com, August 30th, 2010
Low prices stoke coal sales, despite pollution concerns.

Earth.Com, August 30th, 2010
Why Greening China is a National Priority.

Live Mint, August 30th, 2010
Running in the city.

Energy Bangla, August 30th, 2010
Green Tech Brick Kiln Project Launched.

The LiveMint, August 29th, 2010
The urban public transport debate.

Linking Transport, AQ, and CC, August 29th, 2010
Some Myths About Transportation Busted.

Times of India, August 29th, 2010
Study to check pollution level along BRTS corridor.

The Economist, August 26th, 2010
Jam tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.

CNN, August 12th, 2010
What's behind the weather chaos?