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Environmental pollution news 2015



Out of world's top 20 polluted cities 13 are in India


New Delhi, June 09, 2015: Of the world’s top 20 polluted cities, 13 are in India compared to just three in China. Air pollution slashes life expectancy by 3.2 years for the 660 million Indians who live in cities, including Delhi. In China, the corresponding dip is marginally lower at three years.

The Ganga and Yamuna are ranked among the world’s 10 most polluted rivers. China has just one. An evaluation in February ranked Vapi in Gujarat and Sukinda in Odisha among the 10 most environmentally-degraded zones in the world. China had no entries on the list.

China leads the world in carbon emissions and India is in third position. But one important difference between the two emerging economies lies in China’s ability to manage the impact of breakneck economic growth on its environment much better than India. The effect of China’s success is most visible in its air and water, both of which have a direct bearing on public health.

Both countries were saddled with almost identical environmental concerns a decade ago, but China cleaned many of its polluted rivers and managed to check the spiralling urban air pollution through stringent rules.

As a results  “Beijing's air pollution has dipped 40% since 2000 as we have taken steps to phase out polluting vehicles and put checks on building heating systems,” said Beijing municipal officer Li Kunsheng   In contrast, Delhi's air pollution has steadily climbed by 20% in the same period with successive governments reluctant to act.  The impact of rising toxins in the air is clearly visible on an average Indian's life, as proved by a Lancet study in 2012 that ranked air pollution as the sixth biggest killer with an annual estimated toll of 66 million.

A 2015 report by the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based NGO, says the decline in the country's overall environmental standards was because of river pollution, which is worse now than it was three decades ago, piling garbage in cities and increasingly toxic urban air.

Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar is hopeful of people's participation pushing governments to improve the environment, saying a policy of "development without destruction" is in place.

In the coming years, his ministry plans to introduce a new environmental regime that will focus on "self-regulation" and strengthen the "polluter-pay principle" with higher penalties for violation of environmental laws. Source:


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Toxic air pollution is fading iconic monuments


New Delhi,  April 22, 2015: India’s pollution problem, which came into the limelight after Delhi’s air was declared even filthier than Beijing’s last year, is even more monumental than we thought. Toxic air spouting out from burning trash and exhaust pipes has taken its toll on the facades of some of the country’s sacred heritage sites.

The impact of air pollution on the iconic Taj Mahal—whose grand marble edifice is slowly turning brownish-yellow has been covered by the media for several years now. But over the last few years, many more sites have joined the queue—their carefully carved and crafted marble pillars of centuries past turning yellow, brown and black.

In Delhi, the white-marbled Lotus Temple, an architectural triumph and pride of the Bahai faith, is wilting under the onslaught of pollution. The temple was built in 1986 and attracts 400,000 visitors every month. But the pristine marble has been fading, despite regular maintenance.

The National Green Tribunal found that the major threats to the temple were emissions from cars in nearby traffic, burning rubber and plastic from surrounding slums, and fly ash, a residue of coal combustion, and gas from a nearby power plant, according to the Business Standard newspaper.

“This (discolouration) comes from numerous sources and it’s very specific to the location of the monument,” Hem Dholakia, a research associate at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, told Quartz. “We need immediate action to prevent further deterioration.”

In the bustling bazaars of Hyderabad’s old city, the central part of one of southern India’s biggest technology hubs, the 400-year-old landmark Charminar monument is hit with a similar fate. The layers of dust on the structure and the movement of vehicles in its vicinity have contributed to a newfound blackening and gradual peeling of Charminar’s surface. - Quartz


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