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Air Quality And Public Health

Making space for emissions

What does the ubiquitous auto-rickshaw and the plush aeroplane have in common, other than getting us from one place to another? The auto-rickshaw, as India’s largest manufacturer Rahul Bajaj will tell you, is the symbol of democratic mobility — it provides transport for large numbers of people at what he says is affordable costs. But these vehicles are technology poor, and extremely polluting.

Air pollution on the rise in Kanpur, says latest CSE study

Kanpur, December 17, 2009: Efforts to reduce air pollution in Kanpur are in danger of being wasted, as pollution levels are once again creeping up in the city: says a latest analysis of recent air quality data done by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation.

Planning in the air

India has added two more swanky symbols to bolster its first-world ambitions: the Rajiv Gandhi international airport in Hyderabad and the gleaming Bengaluru international airport in our software capital. But look beneath this glitzy façade and you will find another instance of development on the cheap. We refuse to admit that our dream of world-class infrastructure is not grounded on the hard reality that we are a rich and poor country at the same time. As a result, we do not think differently and plan for solutions that suit our needs.

The challenge of the chulha

About 24 years ago, I was in a house in a small village some distance from Udaipur town in Rajasthan. A government functionary was explaining how an improved chulha (cookstove) worked— they had installed it in the kitchen. At that time, India was waking up to forests being devastated. It was believed then (wrongly, as it turned out) the key reason was poor people cutting trees to cook food. It was also being understood smoke from chulhas was carcinogenic and that women were worst hit by this pollution.

Delhi smog points to worsening air quality

New Delhi, November 7, 2009: Delhi has finally lost the gains of its CNG programme. Its air is increasingly becoming more polluted and unbreathable, bringing back the pre-CNG days when diesel-driven buses and autos had made it one of the most polluted cities on earth: says the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in its latest analysis of recent air quality data in Delhi.

Air quality and public health

The rate at which urban air pollution has grown across India is alarming. A vast majority of cities are caught in the toxic web as air quality fails to meet health-based standards. Almost all cities are reeling under severe particulate pollution while newer pollutants like oxides of nitrogen and air toxics have begun to add to the public health challenge. Only a few mega cities where action has started show some improvement in air quality but in most cases the particulate levels are still unacceptably high.