Skip to main content

Deaths in India due to air pollution rose, plummeted in China; situation "serious" in Dec 2017, shows EU satellite

Counterview Desk
Even as ranking one of the worst – 177th among 180 countries – in Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a joint study by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Yale and Columbia universities – released around the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi the addressed the WEF in Davos – has regretted that India “India has made little progress reducing air pollution levels”, while China has begun achieving the much needed “stability.”
Reporting that India’s rank plummeted by 36 points from 141 in 2016, the study notes, 75% of the rural population in China and India is “without access to modern energy services”, with “over 800 million people rely on traditional biomass for cooking” in India alone.
The study underlines, “Premature deaths from air pollution in China have begun to stabilize, while India has seen a steady rise in air pollution levels and PM2.5-related deaths.” Ranking China 120th of 180 countries, it says, over the last three-and-a-half decades, the number of deaths attributable to PM2.5 in China came down from 16.15 lakh to 10.99 lakh. However, as for India, during the same period, the number of deaths because of PM2.5 has gone up from 13.08 lakh to 16.40 lakh.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. Owing to their minute size, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and some may even enter the circulatory system, leading to chronic diseases such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
India's EPI ranking among
180 countries
Recalling that “China and India combined made up approximately 52% of the 4.2 million deaths globally in 2015”, the study insists on the “the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.”
Suggesting that, in India, things do not seem to be improving, the study says, “On October 13, 2017, the European Union and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus programme launched the most sophisticated air-pollution satellite ever created”, and the first images “returned from the satellite in December of 2017” highlight “elevated concentrations of NO2 over parts of Europe and high levels of emissions from power plants in India.”
Insisting that “because of their coal consumption” both India and China “face significant challenges in addressing air pollution from sulfur dioxide emissions”, the study says, “Recent satellite studies have found that while Chinese emissions of sulfur dioxide have declined by 75% since 2007, India’s emissions have increased by 50%.”
“As a result”, the study says, “India has overtaken China as the world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic sulfur dioxide… Both India and China must address their air pollution emissions to prevent acidification and other negative ecosystem impacts.”
Pointing out that “air quality remains the leading environmental threat to public health”, the study says, “In November 2017, the government in Delhi declared a state of emergency. Particulate matter levels reached recorded highs of 969 ug/m3”, recalling, “The WHO considers anything over 25 ug/m3 to be unsafe.”
“To put this into perspective”, the study says, “News sites were reporting that breathing the air in Delhi was ‘equivalent to smoking 44 cigarettes a day’. Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi's chief minister, even described the city as ‘a gas chamber’. Blaming farmers who clear fields by burning crops, Kejriwal went on to say, ‘every year this happens during this part of the year. We have to find a [solution] to crop burning in adjoining states’.”

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Why am I exhorting citizens for a satyagrah to force ECI to 'at least rethink' on EVM

By Sandeep Pandey*   As election fever rises and political parties get busy with campaigning, one issue which refuses to die even after elections have been declared is that of Electronic Voting Machine and the accompanying Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.