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Worldwide Air Pollution Map and live air quality levels

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To avoid the most polluted places in your city, we developed Flow, the personal air quality tracker. Flow helps you understand and reduce your exposure to air. The service is - You can use this Android app to check air pollution levels in Delhi and Pune. The app is developed by scientists at the Pune-based Indian Delhi would have air quality information and advisories available for five locations – west, east, Published Date: February 18, PM IST. on Thematic Presentation · Leave Management System · Internet Complaint Portal · Inspection portal for Ganga units · Read More. Directions issued by CPCB .

Takes the usually cheaper precautionary measures than the extremely expensive curative measures. And insists that the companies big or small have to meet certain minimum standards or face severe penalties. But neither do our politicians nor do our bureaucrats have any idea of how to do this. The pollution control bureaucracy is today one of the most pathetically incompetent bureaucracies in the country -- and nor does the government want to do anything the polluter-politician-bureaucrat nexus being extremely strong.

What then does this mean? It simply means that India will not be able to clean pollution in one generation. If it takes at least 2 generations, we will begin to see leaner air only by the s. In other words, the current urban generation is going to leave behind a totally unlivable habitat for at least two of its generations.

The future is, therefore, nothing less than scary. One may ask how can generations pass by without any effective action being taken. That this can happen in the future is clearly shown by the past. It was in that the Air Pollution Control Act was legislated. Nearly 20 years, that is, one generation has already gone by without the Central or any of the state governments having even developed an effective action plan which clearly aims to bring down pollution to levels that will give us clean air.

Both the Central and state governments have only promoted cosmetic exercises like checking the tailpipes of private motor cars or scooters a technique that only puts the blame on the victim. Even Andhra Pradesh's chief minister Chandrababu Naidu had his picture proudly taken while checking the exhaust pipe of a car. What does this pollution mean in terms of economic growth?

Central Pollution Control Board | Government of India

Will India's economy be affected by this pollution? The unfortunate answer is: Politicians and industrialists do not have to learn any real lesson. Things can go on as usual without any of these groups suffering. As classical economic texts point out, pollution will even help the economy to grow.

Bottling water industry will grow by leaps and bounds. So will hospitals and medicine producers and vendors. Yes, certain costs will definitely go up. Drinking water costs, for example.

The rich are already paying for bottled drinking water as much as they pay for milk. But, to meet the needs of the poor, the government will have to invest heavily to treat the polluted waters to turn them into drinking water quality and if, however, the government fails to do so because of lack of money or political will, as it is already doing so then it is the poor who will have to pay the biggest price--the price being their very lives.

You can use this Android app to check air pollution levels in Delhi and Pune | BGR India

Air pollution will be the biggest leveller because it will affect both the rich and the poor. But the rich will be able to afford the cost of dealing with chronic asthma and cancer whereas the poor will not be able to do so. In other words, India's wealth will be built on the backs of its poor, its elderly, its children and those genetically susceptible.

Not on the back of the economy but on the back of public health. What does this mean in terms of numbers? How many will die? Today, about a million die each year because of water pollution and this is still largely because of the traditional form of pollution which results from human filth.

The new water pollution will add to this all kind of horrendous diseases like cancers and neurological disorders. It is estimated that at least one lakh die each year from urban air pollution. Thus, at the least one million or more will continue to die from pollution each year in India.

This figure will rise to probably million a year with growing pollution. But tens of millions will suffer from high rates of illness and a very poor quality of life. If we were to take one generation to control pollution, we would have killed off at least million people, mostly poor people. And if we were to take two generations, the numbers could rise to million people. The problem is that these numbers are so small that for India's politicians and industrialists they mean absolutely nothing.

What do 50 million deaths or murders mean in a country which is already 1, million and likely to grow to 1, million soon? Economic growth will come at a high price only for those who suffer from the pollution.

Probably 50 million poor people have already been killed off in the last 50 years of Independence because of the inaction on the part of our political system to deal with India's poverty.

Independence has definitely come to us at a high cost but it has made no material difference to the politicians of the country. Surely all this is deeply immoral. But who is going to protest against this immorality? That is where, in fact, the answer lies. If anything is going to change, it will not come from the electoral part of India's democracy.

It will come from those elements of Indian democracy which give its people certain rights the Right to Free Speech, the Right to form Associations, and the Right to Protest, especially the Right to go to Court.

In other words, exactly as in the West, it is India's civil society which will have to literally browbeat the country's elected representatives into action.

In fact, the fight against pollution will only succeed only if it becomes a people's movement an urban people's movement which can count on an active group against pollution in every town and city of India working together as one force. But this will not be an easy task. People will be given all kinds of confusing information. By the government most of all and by the industry as well. Critical information will be held back by government officials and scientists.

There will be few scientists ready to speak out. Despite the high levels of particulates in India's urban air, the Centre for Science and Environment has not been able to find one single scientist in the country who has studied the health effects of this pollutant. In such a situation, every attempt will be made to divert attention to inconsequential issues. And, to boot, fighting pollution is an intensely scientific task. Unless the civil society itself acquires scientific expertise or finds willing scientists to work with it, and then finds willing judges to tame the politicians and the bureaucrats, getting the balance between environment and development will prove to be an elusive task.

I am convinced that it is not going to be an India that anyone of us dreamed of. Welcome to the 21st century! About 8, of these units are polluting, also says the state government. The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation gidc was managing industrial estates as on Marchand its activity plan for the year included sanctioning of eight new ones. He says that in the s, the state government was encouraging small-scale units in the chemicals sector through financial incentives.

But the government gave a very low priority to the environment. This is why environmental problems cropped up in Gujarat," says Trivedi.

Nowhere more so than in the nearly km stretch between Vapi in southern Gujarat and Vatva in northern Gujarat, called the golden corridor, an industrialist's dream come true. This stretch has become a hot bed of pollution. The time-bomb is ticking very fast," says Achyutbhai Yagnik, secretary of Setu, an Ahmedabad-based ngo.

Another example of an environmental nightmare is Alang, the largest shipbreaking yard of the world, situated 50 km from Bhavnagar.

The km coastline of the yard has been severely polluted due to scrapping of hazardous ships see 'Bare Facts'; Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 20; March 15, Government response, or the lack of it "We are suffering because of the lack of proper planning in the past. But it is now a futile exercise to blame anyone for that. The situation is in front of everybody. We have to come out of it," says Suresh Mehta, industry minister of Gujarat. But what is the state government doing to deal with the growing pollution problems?

Well, it is trying its best to set up more industries. The state government has planned the 'Infrastructure Vision ', which hardly lays any focus on environment. In a meeting organised by gec in Ahmedabad on October 29,K V Bhanujan, principal secretary of finance to the state government, had observed: But environmental concerns in general or anticipated as a consequence of the implementations of the vision have not been even touched upon anywhere.

All the major rivers and streams of Gujarat are in a bad state due to effluent discharged by industry, be it the Kolak, the Mahi, the Daman Ganga or the Amlakhadi see p One can see red water flowing in the Sabarmati, released by the common effluent treatment plant cetp in Vatva.

Several times, drug factories in Vapi dump spoilt batches in the open. These contain chemicals that are highly toxic. Take the case of the farmers from 11 villages between Lali and Navagam, who irrigate their fields with untreated effluents released into the Khari river. Nearly tubewells and borewells have been contaminated. You can see that from the colour of the water," says Mayur Pandya, a noted lawyer who chaired a committee set up to investigate pollution of Khari river near Ahmedabad by the Gujarat High Court in So, what have the people done to prevent their land and rivers from being defiled?

The rise and fall of a people's campaign On June 19,two people who had climbed down to do repair work in a well in Lali village died. The villagers knew the cause of death. Effluents carried by the neighbouring Khari river, better described as an effluent channel, had leached into the groundwater. The reaction had produced poisonous gases, which lead to asphyxiation.

The river has been carrying industrial wastes for the past 20 years, says Pravinbhai Jashbhai Patel, a farmer from Navagram village. A public outcry followed. Finally, on February 16,the 11 villages filed a public interest petition in the Gujarat High Court. The committee reported that water samples taken from the Khari river, where it flows through Lali, had pH levels as low as 2, showing that the water was highly acidic.

The biological oxygen demand was about 14 times the permissible limit and the chemical oxygen demand was much more than 16 times the limit, says Jashbhai Patel. On the basis of the report, on August 5,the court ordered that industrial units, which were regarded as highly polluting, pay up 1 per cent of their gross turnover of the year orwhichever was higher.

As for compensation, sources point out that while some industrial units have paid up, others are still in the process of doing so. Several units have started production again. The situation has not changed at all. Untreated effluents still flow in the river. Water in the odd wells near Khari is still a distinct red. Kanubhai Patel, a farmer, says the paddy yield has gone down by half.

The villagers find a difference in milk quality, too, which they attribute to cattle grazing in contaminated areas. It had a mercury concentration that was times the permissible limit see 'What goes down must come up'; Down To Earth, August 31, Mercury is an extremely toxic heavy metal and is known to cause damage to kidneys and the central nervous system.

Failure of the courts The most damaging aspect of Gujarat's struggle against industrial pollution has been the failure of the courts to deliver. There was a phase in when the Gujarat High Court was cracking down on polluters, giving an impetus to the environmental movement in the state. Hundreds of cases were filed in the court. This continued for two to three years. As long Justice B N Kirpal was the chief justice of the high court, he took stern action against polluters.

After this period, the court got bogged down in dealing with applications to reopen industrial units after a closure order given by justice Kirpal. But the implementing and regulatory agencies remained lackadaisical. Soon, people handling these cases lost interest as the exercise could not yield the desired results. The situation does not look like it will improve," says Mayur Pandya. So they are not scared at all," adds Girish Patel.

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This is not acceptable at all. The court should stop relying on gpcb information if it wants better results," says Anand Mazgaonkar of pss. He says gpcb annual reports look like primary school books: Not only has this polluted the groundwater but it has also damaged fertile lands.

Take the case of Bajwa, a village in Vadodara district where industrial waste has been accumulating for the past 30 years and there is barely any agricultural land to be proud of in terms of productivity see 'Toxic trail'; Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 7; August 31, Now, industries are constructing landfill sites.

But even in the construction and planning of these, environmental health has not been kept in mind. One example is gidc's Nandesari Industrial Estate north of Vadodara. Plans of a site to dump toxic wastes are severely flawed and there are fears of a major ecological disaster see 'Hell-hole'; Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 14; December 15, From Vapi to Mehsana, several units dealing with pharmaceuticals, dyes and dye intermediaries are constructing landfills sites to dump their hazardous wastes.

However, Mazgaonkar cites a study conducted for the us Environmental Protection Agency, conducted on 50 landfills, showed that 86 per cent had contaminated underground water supplies beyond the boundaries of the landfill. Environment impact assessments by the National Productivity Council, Gandhinagar, in and showed high levels of lead contamination in the groundwater of Nandesari.

Samples taken nearby the gidc dump contained The groundwater has been severely contaminated to a depth of about 60 metres, the study says.

Systems that do not work "The entire machinery to control pollution in the state has failed," says Girish Patel. They do not accept that the poor people are the most severely affected because it is they who live in a polluted environment and drink contaminated water," he adds. It has mainly political appointees or bureaucrats at senior positions, who lack knowledge of environmental issues," rues Trivedi see box: Polluting on legal grounds.

I was the second chairperson during After me, either bureaucrats or the political appointees have been appointed. A former chairperson of gpcb was allegedly forced to leave because he did not work as the politicians wanted him to," says Trivedi. They do not have an initiative to meet the environmental norms," he adds. This has certainly helped big industries find ways to flout environmental norms see box: Today, industrialists first invest money in a project and then plead in the court that they cannot stop the work on environmental grounds as they have already made the investment.

As a result, what happens is that the pollution remains, but the conditions disappear," comments Patel. A fatigued civil society "The NGOs that are working in this field do not have the support to do anything concrete. So, by and large, there is no strong voice against pollution problems in Gujarat today," says Girish Patel.

The voice of ngos in the state mainly comes from the middle class. But these people have not been able to carry together the grassroots level people. The spirit of public good that saw numerous people going to court against polluting industry has been snuffed out after implementing agencies failed to enact the orders of the courts. Michael Mazgaonkar says the only way out of the present situation is to have a very democratic system of permitting industries: We have adequate environmental rules that, if implemented properly, can control most of the industrial hazards.

But the industries have found ways to circumvent these rules. So even if all these rules are implemented and the decision-making is not democratic, the problem is likely to continue," he feels. If community-based organisations come up, then some improvement can be made in the present situation," says Trivedi. C J Jose, member secretary of gec, has another view: The civil society is faced with a huge task.

The first thing to do, however, is to involve rural communities and industrial workers in the struggle against pollution. That being done, solutions will emerge. But if that is not done, then the cesspool is only going to worsen. He had been selling 10 truckloads of mangoes every year. Bhagat's story is no different from those living in villages near sie. The odd industrial units, including 50 chemical units, have in 12 years contaminated the groundwater.

And if villagers are to be believed, some units even use borewells to pump untreated effluents into the ground. A recent Greenpeace study shows that groundwater in Sarigam is contaminated with organic pollutants such as tri-chloroethane, benzene and several organochlorine compounds.

Benzene is a known carcinogen and dichlorobenzene is a persistent organic pollutant, which remains in the environment for a very long period of time. Groundwater is the only source of drinking water for the villagers.

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Arekar, along with fellow villagers, has been has been trying to bring to task industrial units responsible for contamination but without success. A incident explains their failure. Seventy-year-old blind farmer Ganeshbhai Ambali's 1. He said that was all I would get.

He also said that since he controlled 32 inspectors of the pollution control board, I was small fry," recalls Ambali. The current controversy over Sabero Organics, which deals with chemicals, is also a case in point. According to Rajendra Singh Jadeja, vice-president of the Sarigam Industrial Association, Sabero had been caught red-handed dumping untreated effluents in the open.

The company is now seeking permission to set up a unit to manufacture the fungicide mancozeb. Anand Mazgaonkar of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, a non-governmental organisation, says production of this fungicide has been banned in several industrialised countries in view of the health risk it poses: However, some questioned the very idea of calling a public hearing when almost 60 per cent construction of the proposed plant had been completed.

Inthe Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation gidc acquired land in Sarigam for setting up the industrial estate. They had said there would only be engineering units in the area ," says Bhagat. But they declared it a chemicals zone. Our future generation will curse us if we do not protect the environment now," he adds. The Amlakhadi river -- which was one of the sources of water for these villages -- has today become an effluent channel. For several years, more than 1, industrial units in Jhagadia, Ankleshwar, Panoli, Vilayat and Dahej of Bharuch district have been discharging effluents into the Amlakhadi.

The river meets the Narmada river near Bharuch. More than half of them are chemical units that manufacture dyes, paints, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, paper and pesticides. Moreover, a study conducted by environment pressure group, Greenpeace, has found toxic metals such as lead, mercury, chromium and zinc in the effluents released into the Amlakhadi. During monsoon, the effluents sometimes overflow and destroy the farmlands.

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For many years the villagers have been protesting against the poisoning of the river. In Decemberthe Centre for Environment, Science and Community cescoma Vadodara-based non-governmental organisation ngoshelped the villagers bring the struggle onto the negotiation table with the government.

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Later it was decided that no new units would be allowed in the Jhagadia Industrial Estate, except the existing four units unless an effluents pipeline was laid down for Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia estates. This pipeline was supposed to take effluents from these estates directly into the sea," says Ashok Rathi, secretary, cescom.

But when the gidc allowed more industries to come up in Jhagadia even before the pipeline was laid, Jayesh Patel, a member of Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti, an organisation associated with cescom, filed a public interest litigation pil in the Gujarat high court. The Ankleshwar Industrial Association aia estimates that its members generate between million litres per day mld of effluents. Of this 58 per cent is generated from the manufacture of dyes and dye intermediates; 10 per cent from drugs and pharmaceuticals; and five per cent from inorganic chemicals, says a Central Pollution Control Board report.

However, many industrial units claim to have installed effluent treatment plants. There is a common effluent treatment plant cetpbacked by United Phosphorus Limited upl which has nearly members. The cetp has a capacity to treat around 1, cubic metres of effluents per day or 1 mld. The industrial units are also planning a km long pipeline project that will discharge effluents from Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jagadia into the sea.

This pipeline will take the effluents 14 km inside the sea. However, the units have not stopped dumping," says Rathi. Thus the decision of the high court upholding the stand taken by GIDC in not allowing any other industry to discharge effluent before the pipeline is commissioned remained in force during full period of litigationRathi adds. Read Full Coverage Western tragedy "Industrialisation is a national priority and it has to take place.

In Maharashtra we have demonstrated that industrialisation would bring prosperity," says Sharad Pawar, former chief minister of Maharashtra who has been an important player in national politics as well. What he says is not untrue.

But what Pawar's statement hides is another story. The state of the national economy can be gauged from Maharashtra. Reports by the Central Pollution Control Board show Maharashtra releases maximum sewage into its water bodies in a year.

While states like Tamil Nadu and Gujarat release 8. Rivers of Poison The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board MPCB annual report announces the quality of river and ground water to have deteriorated by 70 per cent since the report due to domestic and industrial waste. But industries are required to provide primary treatment to waste water before sending it to the CETPs.

Here, most industries are non-compliant. Nearly 99 per cent domestic sewage generated in municipal councils goes untreated due to the lack of sewage treatment plants STP. Maharashtra produces around 10, million litres per day MLD effluents of which at least 2, MLD enters the sea and river untreated, causing aquatic hazards.

Rivers like Mula and Mutha in Pune and Pachanganga in Kolhapur have the entire city's sewage dumped into them. In many areas, fresh water pipelines pass under the nullahs.

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A canal clogged by garbage Apart from water pollution, cities like Pune, Chandrapur and Solapur are breathing heavily polluted air. This denotes the dust particles in the air that can be inhaled, causing breathing problems and lung infections. Pune exceeds the acceptable limits by The Pune Action Plan was devised in with an implementation deadline of April When the Plan- which entails improvements in pollution control systems in vehicles, introduction of cleaner fuels, checking vehicular emissions regularly and development of roads-was not implemented, the Supreme Court intervened, setting up a monitoring committee.

But the committee "is not satisfied with the progress", says a member. Chandrapur, Solapur, and Nagpur have similar action plans. The MPCB feels the onus of maintaining the environment is not on it alone but also on the Pune Corporation to build better roads and provide dedicated bus lanes.

Narrow roads lead to frequent traffic jams. The longer it takes to commute, more the pollution," says Sharwaree Gokhale, principal secretary, Environment Department. The state is also waiting for CNG to reach smaller cities, which can reduce pollution. GAIL is slotted to begin supply by June this year. Commuters breathe in fumes during rush hour Click here to Enlarge The hazards of this neglect are showing.

The fisher folk of Dahanu near Mumbai allege that the discharge of hot effluents from Dahanu Thermal Power Station into the local creek has resulted in fish dying.

The Lote industrial area near Ratnagiri is another example.

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