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

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”