Delhi Should Follow Beijing's Example In Tackling Air Pollution

Delhi Should Follow Beijing's Example In Tackling Air Pollution

Delhi’s air pollution crisis made international headlines in early December when a cricket match between India and Sri Lanka was suspended due to poor air quality.

Smog has also led to numerous school closures and flight cancellations in India’s capital and largest city. It has also been blamed for highway accidents.

Delhi is home to 20 million residents, and the city’s more than 10 million vehicles are a major contributor to air pollution. Industrial emissions are also to blame. Thirteen coal-fired power stations operate within a 300 kilometre radius of the city. Conditions reach crisis level every winter, when the capital’s already poor air quality is further degraded by smoke from post-harvest burning in the neighbouring agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab.

The concentration of airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) recently reached 999 in parts of Delhi. This measurement was literally off the charts of maximum thresholds for air pollutants. The alarming fact is that Delhi is not even India’s smoggiest city. By one measure, four other Indian cities typically suffer even worse air pollution.

There is little evidence that either the central or Delhi government has any effective policy strategy for air pollution. Now is the time for India to peer through the smog and learn how another major city, Beijing, is taking meaningful steps to stabilise its own air pollution crisis. While China still has progress to make, some lessons from the country’s capital are a useful guide for clearing Delhi’s air.

China’s response

According to the World Health Organisation, ten of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India, and three in China. The two countries top the ignoble list of deaths related to air pollution, with more than one million each in 2015. The two are the world’s most populous countries and also have among the highest proportions of deaths related to air pollution.

Nevertheless, China is making progress. The central government has taken a systematic and coordinated approach to managing air pollution. It has adopted a suite of policies that promote alternative energy and punish regulatory breaches.

The country is rapidly scaling back capacity for coal-fired power and steel, whose production is suspected of threatening respiratory health. China is also soliciting foreign investment in green energy technologies, and has intensified inspections of major polluters around Beijing.

In Beijing alone, fines for pollution topped USD$ 28 million in 2015. To combat vehicle exhaust smoke, which is responsible for one-third of Beijing’s emissions, an annual quota of 150,000 new cars was established for 2017, with 60,000 allotted only to fuel efficient cars. Beginning in 2018, this quota will be reduced by one third, to 100,000 annually. This will limit the total number of cars to around 6.3 million.

Beijing is also aiming to reduce coal consumption from the current 11 million tons per year to under 5 million by 2020.

There is some evidence that these measures are working. In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, PM2.5 levels decreased by 27% between 2013 and 2016.

India’s apathy

By comparison, India’s political inefficiency is making regional air pollution a nearly intractable problem. Although the states of Haryana and Punjab have banned farmers from burning straw, implementation has been minimal. Policy coordination is also weak across states governed by rival political parties. For example, the leaders of Delhi and Haryana have publicly clashed about who is to blame for air pollution. They have also failed to hold discussions about the problem or to find feasible solutions.

Farmers constitute a significant voting base in Haryana and Punjab. This has led state governments to demand compensation from central government for losses farmers incur by ceasing burning. Such focus on short-term political gain is distracting policymakers from collaborating on regional solutions. The consequences of territorial grandstanding are deadly.

Another difference between India and China is the level of apathy among the government and general public. In China, years of seething public anger prompted Prime Minister Li Keqiang to “declare war” on pollution in 2014.

In India, public outrage over air pollution is still “seasonal” and rarely swells beyond social media. The central government has remained largely silent about pollution while state leaders indulge in meaningless inter-party squabbling and political theatre.

Amid this discouraging accountability vacuum, India’s Supreme Court recently assumed the mantle of leadership on air pollution. It banned fireworks in the capital during the Diwali festival and pushed for response focused action planning. While these are encouraging steps, bypassing the legislative process on such fundamental public health issues is hardly ideal or sustainable.

Progress is needed

India has made remarkable progress lifting millions of people out of poverty in recent years. It aspires to be a global superpower, but has singularly failed to curb air pollution. Central government must intervene to coordinate collaborative policy among states and hold officials accountable for inaction. Central government should also reinforce state-level initiatives to minimise burning and promote sustainable farming.

The ConversationMore broadly, it may be time to ask whether highly argumentative democratic models are always the best solution for problems that transcend city and provincial boundaries. Sensible and informed policy leadership is needed to solve environmental challenges. India must rise above petty politics, lest the country bicker its way into smoggy irrelevance.

Asit K. Biswas, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and Kris Hartley, Lecturer in City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Related Books

List Price: $15.99
Price: $15.99
Product Description: The Zone of Danger©®(P), is a heavy metal air pollution, climate change, environmental science, and law book. The subject matter is neurotoxic mercury amalgam vapor, air pollution. climate change, global warming, and environmentalism. The Zone of Danger©®(P), tells the saga of the damage done to the environment, and in particular the "Immediate Danger To Human Life and Health, "IDLH", by the burning of the neurotoxic mercury amalgam in dental fillings, which is against the law in almost every state, particularly when those dental fillings are in the teeth of the deceased, during the estimated 1.5 million cremations a year, which release neurotoxic mercury amalgam vapor, through the scrubberless stacks, of the estimated 2000 crematorium, in the U.S., owned, and operated, by the estimated $15 Billion Dollar a year "Death Enterprise", directly into the environment, to drift for thousands of miles from the U.S. to the E.U., and beyond, to stay for an estimated 444 years in the environment, and in the person for an estimated 36 years. Neurotoxic mercury amalgam vapor is a highly toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative, neurotoxin, which can cause, " delayed fetal development, Autism, ADHD, MS, ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Arthritis, fibromyalgia, dementia, depression, mental illness, insomnia, cancers, organ failure, etc.", which can lead to death. Dean Fisher, Director of the University of California, Donated Bodies Program, and a board member of CANA, stated that, when you burn a body, with neurotoxic mercury amalgam in dental fillings, which is against the law in almost every state, the toxic mercury amalgam vaporizes, and escapes directly, into the atmosphere, as neurotoxic mercury amalgam vapor, through the scrubberless stacks of crematorium, to drift for thousands of miles, from the U.S. to the E.U., to remain for an estimated 444 years in the environment, and an estimated 36 years in the person. The respected medical journal, The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Heath, in their October 17, 2017 issue, who attempted to pull together W.H.O. data, on air pollution, stated, for the first time, that the neurological damage from heavy metal air pollution like, mercury amalgam vapor, kills more people than all the wars, famine, illnesses, pestilence, etc., an estimated, 9 million people a year, in the U.S., costing an estimated $4.6 trillion in losses a year, an estimated 6.2% of the worldwide GDP. Let's look at our future, our children. Neurotoxic mercury amalgam vapor, sits in the central nervous system, and damages kid's brains. The most vulnerable of these children, are the one's in poverty, and therefore the most affected, because most of them are housed, in, or near, the estimated 2000 crematorium, located in, or near the small, or large, inner cities, across the U.S., such as Syracuse, New York. "IN THE ZONE OF DANGER:THE DEAD ARE KILLING THE LIVING:THROUGH NEUROTOXIC MERCURY AMALGAM VAPOR:THE ENEMY WITHIN CREMATION ©®(P)



List Price: $15.95
Sale Price: $15.95 $7.95 You save: $8.00
Product Description: According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the air in our houses is up to five times more polluted than air outside--so it's clear that our homes have become fundamentally unhealthy places. But there is hope! With this guide, you'll learn the immediate changes that make your home--and your life--healthier and safer by neutralizing the toxins, radiation, and chemicals that threaten the average house.

Inside you'll find:
  • Instant-fix checklists that will immediately make your home, workplace, and school safer
  • Room-by-room explorations of the most common and avoidable threats
  • Special tips designed to protect vulnerable infants, children, and pets
With detailed checklists that are ranked by the projected health impact of making the fix, you'll be able to make real, concrete improvements to the health of your home. Whether you make every change or just a targeted few, the decisive steps in this guide will result in a safer, more comfortable, and more livable home for you and your family.



List Price: $12.95

Product Description: Originally published in 1974, and reprinted in 1994 with a new introduction. Car exhausts spew lead into the air...hundreds of smelters and billions of cigarettes foul it with cadmium...other metal contaminants turn the air that keeps us alive into a subtle, slow poison. And our other mortal necessities, food and water, present the same problems, with toxic metal levels rising each year. How far this is true-and, perhaps to the reader's surprise, how far it isn't-is the fascinating topic of Dr. Schroeder's book, which lays out the full toxic-metal problem and shows us how to-live with it and, when needful, defend ourselves against it. ' Dr. Schroeder, a world-famous authority, formerly Professor Emeritus of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School, explains the dangers and benefits of the metals that are either essential or poisonous to us-and sometimes both.



English Afrikaans Arabic Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Dutch Filipino French German Hindi Indonesian Italian Japanese Korean Malay Persian Portuguese Russian Spanish Swahili Swedish Thai Turkish Urdu Vietnamese

LATEST VIDEOS

Jay Inslee Tells Hayes That He Wants To Gut The Filibuster To Fight Climate Change
by MSNBC
Washington Governor Jay Inslee is running for president on the single issue of climate change and argues that doing…
Causes and Effects of Climate Change
by National Geographic
What causes climate change (also known as global warming)? And what are the effects of climate change? Learn the human…
Extreme Weather and Global Warming
by NASA Goddard
Is the frequency of extreme weather events a sign that global warming is gaining pace and exceeding predictions? Bill…
Thanks to Climate Change, Wet Winters No Match for Drier California Summers
by KPIX CBS SF Bay Area
If the emerald-green hills around Northern California have you thinking recent rains have put a damper on the fire…
Climate Change Is Not One Issue
by MSNBC
"Climate change is not one issue," said David Wallace-Wells, author of "The Uninhabitable Earth," but is…
The Heat: Climate change
by CGTN America
Images gathered by NASA show an increase in foliage in China and India. The greening effect is mainly due to ambitious…
No company is doing enough to combat climate change: Jeremy Grantham
by CNBC Television
Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of GMO, on climate change and what needs to be done to combat it.
Power Plants Are POISONING Groundwater All Over America
by The Ring of Fire
According to a new report, 90% of coal-fired power plants across the country have completely contaminated the…

LATEST ARTICLES

Default Image
Come on, UK weather forecasters – tell it like it is on climate change
by Adam Corner
They have a national reach that most climate campaigners would die for. They are familiar and respected experts on the…
Green New Deal: 6 places already reducing emissions from buildings
Green New Deal: 6 places already reducing emissions from buildings
by David Roberts
One of the elements of the Green New Deal resolution that has caused the most consternation among critics on the right…
Default Image
UK environmentalists target Barclays in fossil fuels campaign
by Matthew Taylor
A UK-wide campaign is being launched to persuade one of the country’s biggest high street banks to stop investing…
Oceanic carbon uptake could falter
Oceanic carbon uptake could falter
by Tim Radford
What does oceanic carbon uptake achieve? Greenhouse gas that sinks below the waves slows global warming a little and…
Britain (Yes, Rainy Britain) Could Run Short of Water by 2050, Official Says
Britain (Yes, Rainy Britain) Could Run Short of Water by 2050, Official Says
by Global Warming & Climate Change
“Climate change plus growth equals an existential threat,” Mr. Bevan said. To avoid severe water shortages, he added,…
Default Image
Record high US temperatures outpace record lows two to one, study finds
by Associated Press
Over the past 20 years, Americans have been twice as likely to sweat through record-breaking heat rather than shiver…
Climate change: Water shortages in England 'within 25 years'
Climate change: Water shortages in England 'within 25 years'
by BBC News - Science & Environment
Image copyright PA Image caption Low water levels at Wayoh Reservoir near Bolton in the UK heatwave in July 2018 Within…
Default Image
Why you'll never meet a white supremacist who cares about climate change
by Rebecca Solnit
As the news of the Christchurch mosque massacre broke and I scoured the news, I came across a map showing that the…