Battle Against Air Pollution Goes Beyond Delhi


imgAir pollution is a major source of concern in megacities, as pollution levels frequently exceed permitted limits, posing substantial health concerns to city residents. Due to air pollution, India's major cities are subjected to dangerous and unsanitary circumstances. For the last few decades, the constant and alarming increase in urban air pollution has been a major environmental problem in India's megacities.

Due to a lack of services such as efficient transportation management, suitable roads, and unplanned placement of industries, emerging countries such as India are experiencing rising air pollution challenges. Congested city roads limit average vehicle speed, resulting in increased vehicle emissions, which contribute to air pollution levels. Increased air pollution levels, as a result of expanding and unplanned urbanization, industrialization, and population increase, pose a hazard to human health, resulting in a variety of health conditions.

Air pollutants such as automobiles emissions have been recognized as a common source of high NO2 concentrations in Indian cities, followed by industries and fuel burning, resulting in increased air pollution in India's metropolitan regions. SO2 emissions are caused by the combustion of low-quality fuel in Indian cities. Crude oil wells and flaring natural gas also spew pollutants into the atmosphere.

Delhi’s Goes into Lockdown from Risky Air Quality

Delhi's air quality improved slightly, hitting the lower end of the ‘very poor' category with an AQI of 318, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The improvement comes as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government prepares to submit a shutdown plan to the Supreme Court to reduce rising air pollution. The Supreme Court judged the current level of pollution in Delhi to be an ‘emergency situation’ and suggested a lockdown in the national capital.

Apart from schools, colleges, and other educational institutions where exams are held for a week, the Delhi government has stated that physical education classes in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions will be closed.

All government departments, agencies, and autonomous organizations, with the exception of those involved in crucial services, have been asked to ask staff to work from home. Construction and demolition activities would be prohibited in the city until November 17, according to the AAP government.

According to SAFAR, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality forecasting organization, the AQI is predicted to improve soon "since winds at transport level are slowing down, resulting in lower incursion of farm fires associated with pollution into Delhi."

According to the EPA, however, calm local winds reduce pollutant dispersion, resulting in air quality that is expected to remain in the extremely poor category. There were 3445 active farm fires just a day prior, accounting for 12 percent of Delhi's PM2.5.

According to SAFAR's advisory, “air quality may improve marginally with the implementation of a two-day lockdown and limits on anthropogenic activity generating pollutants, but it is likely to remain in the extremely poor category if the share of stubble burning does not increase”. With that said, here are other countries on how they fought off air pollutants to bring air pollution in control.

China’s Air-Scraper Takes Down Air Pollutants

A 200-foot tower in the central Chinese city of Xi'an may appear to be just another enormous smokestack, but it was intended to take lethal toxins from the air rather than add more. Preliminary data reveals that the tower which is dubbed the world's largest air purifier by some and has dramatically reduced air pollution across a huge span of the surrounding area.

Indonesia Reduced its Methane to Reduce Air Pollution

Jambi City, which made international headlines when its sky turned red during Indonesia's recent crisis, has adopted an emissions reduction plan that includes lowering and absorbing methane from garbage, municipal ordinances prohibiting rubbish burning, and tree planting to make its neighborhoods greener. It is just one example of how cities in Asia are leading the way to improve air quality and safeguard their inhabitants and the environment, having just joined the BreatheLife network.

London Fought Off Air Pollution through its Ultra Low Emission Zone

For five days in December 1952, London was engulfed in a shroud of smog and fog. This was largely due to the British capital's reliance on inexpensive coal for everything from electricity generation to house heating. To combat dangerous levels of air pollution, London has implemented an Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and every day of the year (leaving Christmas). At any time, drivers of older, more polluting vehicles are taxed to enter the congestion zone region. Toxic air pollution has decreased by a third in the six months after the restrictions were implemented, according to London City Hall.

Mexico Shows Red Light to Cars to Bring Down Air Pollution

In 1992, Mexico Metropolis held the unenviable distinction of being the most polluted city on the planet. Simply breathing was the equivalent of smoking several cigarettes in a single day. This was due to the city's location within a high-altitude valley and the presence of thousands of cars. Being the first city to impose automobile restrictions in 1989, it reduced the number of cars on the road by 20 percent depending on their license plates. ProAire, a program launched by the city to combat pollution on multiple fronts, including reducing industrial and vehicular emissions, improving public awareness, and supporting cleantech and green modes of transportation, among other things. As a result, pollution levels reduced dramatically in the following years.

Paris Prohibits Government and Private Constructions

Paris has expanded car-free zones to include much of the city center in an effort to battle air pollution and provide more room for walkers. This restriction was in effect from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For a time, the French capital similarly prohibited all private and government development

Zurich Imposes Regulation on Diesel-Fueled Automobiles

Zurich has set a limit on the number of parking spaces available in the city, allowing only a specific number of vehicles to park at any given time, and is expanding car-free zones and tram lines. To reduce pollution, it has imposed tough regulations on highly polluting vehicles such as diesel automobiles, trucks, and construction equipment.