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Environmental pollution news 2015



Obama in Republic Day parade may face air pollution problem 

            Delhi Air pollution

New Delhi, January 12, 2015: President Barack Obama comes to New Delhi this month for India's Republic Day celebrations at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi may face air pollution problem. Judging by the smog cloaking the Indian capital on Thursday as motorcycle stunt men rehearsed for the January 26 event, the city's notorious air pollution could be a problem.

Weather forecasters expect the index reading to be around 200 when Obama visits, in line with recent years, although accurate predictions will not be available until three or four days before. Indian defense and foreign ministry officials say there are no plans to change the parade, a military-dominated affair which stretches from the president's palace to India Gate, a memorial to unknown soldiers.

Obama's attendance will be a first for a U.S. president at an event more closely associated with India's non-aligned past and friendship with the Soviet Union. In 2010, the event was wreathed in thick fog that obscured the view for the guest of honor, the then president of South Korea. Source Reuters

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Air pollution is discolouring Taj Mahal, says study 


Washington, December 14, 2014: Airborne carbon particles and dust are discolouring the Taj Mahal's iconic marble dome and soaring minarets, giving the gleaming white landmark a brownish case, Indian and US researchers have found.

"Our team was able to show that the pollutants discolouring the Taj Mahal are particulate matter: carbon from burning biomass and refuse, fossil fuels, and dust - possibly from agriculture and road traffic," said Michael Bergin, a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In addition to Georgia Tech, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur (IIT-K), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the University of Wisconsin collaborated on the project.  

To find out what was causing the colour change, researchers used air sampling equipment to measure what was in the air in the Taj Mahal complex from November 2011 through June 2012.  Filters from the air-sampling equipment were analysed for both fine particulate matter (smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter) and total suspended particulate matter.

The researchers found particles of dust, brown organic carbon and black carbon in the filters and on the marble samples. The carbon particles come from a variety of sources, including fuel combustion, cooking and brick-making, trash and refuse burning, and vehicle exhaust. The dust may come from local agricultural activities, vehicular traffic - or from distant sources, researchers said. Source: PTI 

Air pollution drops crop yields in India

New Delhi, November 5. 2014 : According to a recent study, air pollution in India seems to have a direct and negative impact on grain production. The drop came in yielding from the air pollution caused by fine particles such as soot as well as ozone -generated by sunlight, acting on emissions of precursor molecules.

Scientist have developed a statistical model to understand how air pollution caused wheat yields in densely populated states to be 50 percent lower than what they could have been in 2010. "The numbers are staggering," Jennifer Burney, an author of the study and scientist at the University of California told the Thomson Reuters.

"We hope our study puts the potential benefits on cleaning up the air on the table," she said, noting that agriculture is often not considered when governments debate the economic costs of air pollution and new legislation aimed at combating it.

The Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences published a research paper "Recent climate and air pollution impacts on Indian agriculture" and it analysed what wheat production could have been if there was less pollution.  


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