AuthorTopic: Air Pollution Alert!  (Read 4678 times)

Offline RE

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Air Pollution Alert!
« on: November 08, 2016, 03:41:22 AM »
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I can't believe I don't have an official Air Pollution thread after all the alerts in China, and now India.

Kicking off with Delhi.

Abandon City!  Abandon City!


Delhi pollution: Leaving city no solution; residents, corporates should take steps for long term

Sindhu Bhattacharya  Updated: Nov 8, 2016 13:04 IST

New Delhi - Delhi residents continue to gasp for breath but at least one mini celebrity has decided to leave the city until the air becomes breathable again. News reports suggest that PayTM founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has left the city. And these reports go on to talk of expats and some others who are also shortening their stay in the National Capital Region to avoid health hazards which arise from the toxic air.

The only trouble is, in a city of over 2.5 crore people (Delhi NCR), not even a fraction can afford to just abandon their livelihoods and leave for another, less polluted city. The vast majority of residents of Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon must remain the region and carry on with their lives.

This ET report announcing Sharma’s departure from Delhi with family also says that in 2014 the entrepreneur had contemplated shifting to Bengaluru due to the poor air quality in Delhi NCR, “but abandoned that plan because of traffic problems and pollen in the hi-tech city’s air”. So leaving Delhi NCR is the easiest solution for the rich, for those who do not have regular jobs to go. But for crores of people who call this region home, the only solution is to be involved in cleaning up the air.


At a major automobile company which has a long standing collaboration with another Asian firm, executives from the partner country carry on with their daily job wearing masks, taking the usual precautions, but not one has spoken of leaving the country yet. A company official recalls how the top man of the foreign partner wears protective masks even for common cold when in India but makes no changes in the work schedule here due to the extremely poor air quality in Delhi NCR.

Of course, since this is an automobile company, its officials also dismiss concerns over vehicle emissions being the predominant cause of the current pollution spell, saying emissions from private cars account for a negligible portion of the total harmful emissions in Dellhi NCR.

Not just large companies, the week-long haze over Delhi’s skies has also affected daily wagers, marketing executives and many other professionals including journalists and salesmen who continue to breathe in cancer causing particles while carrying on with their jobs.

A study by business chamber Assocham has found that the severe pollution in Delhi NCR has started taking a toll on people’s health, hampering their ability to do their jobs efficiently. The Social Development arm of Assocham spoke to human resource professionals in about 150 companies working in different industries, in public and private sectors, in and around Delhi for this survey. The aim was to find out how the current severe spell of pollution is impacting companies’ financial health. The survey was conducted during the course of past one week.

Most HR people Assocham spoke to said they are facing staff crunch, with 5-10 percent employees calling in sick. Persistent cough, burning eyes, itchy throat and respiratory/ lung-related problems like asthma and bronchitis are the main reasons for this state of affairs.

“Environment and air pollution related issues might hurt brand India and hit sectors like tourism, outdoor recreation as people tend to stay away from polluted areas so as not to breathe in dense and toxic air,” Secretary General D S Rawat said.

Aditya Birla group company Idea Cellular says it has introduced flexi time for employees and is also offering them face masks. “In view of the present weather condition and the poor air quality in Delhi NCR, Idea Cellular, which has operations facilities in Noida, looking after Delhi NCR and the UP West region, is taking all necessary steps in the interest of the health of its employees. Flexi timing is being enabled to convenience employees and face masks are being distributed to assist them in reducing their exposure to pollutants in the air. Special buses will be plied to pick and drop employees from key locations and car pools are being planned so that vehicular movement is reduced. These facilities have been enabled for this entire week.”

This report in in the Business Standard says one of the PSUs has also deployed air purifiers on office premises.

“At SAIL (Steel Authority of India)'s various offices in Delhi, the employees have been advised to take precautionary measures including wearing masks. They also have been advised to limit their out-of-office assignments and conduct the work through telephone and e-mails. SAIL has already deployed air purifiers at various locations in its office premises,” said a spokesperson.

So who is to blame for the current haze over Delhi NCR? Delhi-based TERI’s latest study shows the following contributing sources of PM 2.5 (the worst culprit as far as health hazards go in the current spell of pollution) in Delhi:

1) In-Delhi sources - 35% of pollution. Transport (tail-pipe, road dust), construction, refuse burning main culprits.

2) Rest of NCR - 25% of pollution. Domestic biomass burning for cooking, industries, transport, DG sets

3) Beyond NCR regions - 40% of pollution. Crop residue burning, domestic biomass burning, industries.

So going by TERI’s estimates, almost two-thirds of the pollution enveloping Delhi-NCR is due to activities which the region itself has not been able to control. Farm fires, being touted as the major reason for unbreathable Delhi air, are shown to account for only 40% of the current spell of deadly haze.
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Anger rises as toxic air chokes India’s capital
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2017, 03:18:34 AM »

Asia & Pacific
Anger rises as toxic air chokes India’s capital

Indian commuters wait for transport amid thick blanket of smog on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. As air pollution peaked this week in Delhi, it rose to more than 30 times the World Health Organization’s recommended safe level. Experts have compared it to smoking a couple of packs of cigarettes a day. A recent report by the Lancet medical journal estimated that a quarter of all premature deaths in India, some 2.5 million each year, are caused by pollution. (Altaf Qadri/Associated Press)

By Nick Perry | AP November 10 at 8:36 PM

NEW DELHI — As thick smog crept over India’s capital this week and smudged landmarks from view, Nikunj Pandey could feel his eyes and throat burning.

Pandey stopped doing his regular workouts and said he felt tightness in his lungs. He started wearing a triple layer of pollution masks over his mouth. And he became angry that he couldn’t safely breathe the air.

“This is a basic right,” he said. “A basic right of humanity.”

Pandey is among many people in New Delhi who have become more aware of the toxic air in recent years and are increasingly frustrated at the lack of meaningful action by authorities.

This week the air was the worst it’s been all year in the capital, with microscopic particles that can affect breathing and health spiking to 75 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization.

Experts have compared breathing the air to smoking a couple of packs of cigarettes a day. The Lancet medical journal recently estimated some 2.5 million Indians die each year from pollution.

Pandey said the millions of rural folk who have moved to the city understand the problem better than they once did, and are trying everything from tying scarves over their faces to eating “jaggery,” a sugar cane product that some people believe offers a range of health benefits.

Masks once considered an affectation of hypochondriac tourists are these days routinely worn by government workers and regular people on the street.

Volunteers handed out thousands of green surgical masks this week to make a point about the pollution, but such masks likely have a limited impact on keeping out the tiny particles from people’s lungs.

“This is truly a health emergency,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director of research and advocacy at New Delhi’s Centre for Science and Environment.

She said doctors in recent days have been dealing with a 20 percent spike in emergency hospital admissions from people suffering heart and lung problems. And that’s in a city, she said, where one in every three children already has compromised lungs.

Seema Upadhyaya, who heads a primary school, said she has never before witnessed so many children suffering from respiratory illnesses as she has this year. That has prompted changes to the curriculum.

“It’s impacting everybody,” she said.

Authorities have been taking extraordinary measures to try to mitigate the immediate crisis. They have temporarily closed schools and stopped most trucks from entering the city. Next week they are considering rationing car usage.

But everyone agrees such measures don’t address the root causes, which remain hard to solve.

Roychowdhury said the city’s pollution has been trapped this week by a lack of wind at ground level, colliding winds in the upper atmosphere, and cooling temperatures.

Air quality typically gets worse at this time of year as nearby farmers burn fields and people build street fires to keep warm. The conditions this week prompted the capital’s top elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, to describe his city as a “gas chamber.”

While crop burning has been banned in and around the capital, officials say it’s hard to punish impoverished farmers for continuing traditional methods that have been handed down through the generations.

Pandey said it’s part of a broader problem in India.

“Your water is not healthy, your food is not healthy, your vegetables are polluted, they are poisoned,” he said. “I mean, everything is polluted right now.”

Roychowdhury said she is encouraged there is rising awareness of the air quality problem, both among residents and the medical community. But she says authorities need to do more.

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She said officials have been asking people this week to use more public transport, but at the same time the city doesn’t have enough buses and hasn’t bought any new ones in recent years.

“What we are saying, and the Supreme Court has already asked for it, is that there should be a comprehensive plan for all sources of pollution,” she said.

Meanwhile, people like Pandey say they are going to have to suffer through, because New Delhi is where they need to be based for work opportunities and their families.

“We are India, right?” he said. “We just try to survive in whatever condition we are in. That is how it is.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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🌏 Sorry, Earth, The Ozone Layer Isn't Healing Itself After All
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2018, 12:27:34 AM »

Sorry, Earth, The Ozone Layer Isn't Healing Itself After All

Feb 6, 2018 @ 01:00 AM 1,556 2 Free Issues of Forbes

Sorry, Earth, The Ozone Layer Isn't Healing Itself After All

The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Ethan Siegel Ethan Siegel , Contributor


The atmosphere of Earth, as seen during sunset in May of 2010 from the International Space Station. The ozone in our stratosphere is a vital ingredient in protecting humans from high-energy, ionizing ultraviolet radiation.

Throughout the history of life on Earth, there's been a little-noticed helper: a thin but important layer of ozone in our planet's stratosphere. Transparent to visible light, this trioxygen molecule isn't the type you breathe, but rather successfully absorbs incoming high-energy ultraviolet light. Without the ozone layer, this light would propagate down to the surface, where it's capable of breaking organic bonds and working to counteract the natural life processes we hold so dear. Inadvertently, the widespread rise in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and their use in aerosol cans began to destroy the protective ozone layer, and some 30 years ago, humanity banded together to virtually eliminate CFC use. We thought the hole would close and the problem would solve itself. But a new study, surveying a part of the ozone layer that hadn't been examined before, shows that the overall problem hasn't improved in 20 years.

NASA / Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

The ozone layer in Earth's stratosphere protects life on the surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation. While CFCs significantly damaged this layer, it was thought that ceasing those emissions would lead to a general recovery. This may not be the case at all.

Ultraviolet radiation is known to be dangerous, and our stratospheric ozone is our first line of defense. With the widespread adoption of and compliance with the Montreal Protocol, atmospheric ozone stopped decreasing, and measurements of the upper stratosphere indicated that ozone levels were recovering. The recovery was so significant that the leading models predicted a 100% recovery at most human-populated latitudes by the year 2100. But one unknown had yet to be investigated to the required level of scrutiny: the concentration of ozone at lower altitudes. Contrary to expectations and with no explanation for how it's happened, the lower stratosphere appears to be losing ozone, so much so that the total amount of ozone over the most densely populated areas isn't increasing at all.


W.T. Ball et al. (2018), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,

From 1998 to the present, the mid-latitudes of Earth have seen a rise in ozone levels in the upper stratosphere. However, the lower stratosphere indicates an offset of the same magnitude. For some reason, the ozone layer isn't recovering overall.

In what promises to be the first unexpected result from atmospheric sciences in 2018, a team of researchers gathered four different datasets that have been monitoring the higher altitudes of Earth's atmosphere, and analyzed them for changes in ozone concentrations. While the upper stratosphere showed the same increases in ozone densities, the lower stratosphere, carefully analyzed for the first time, showed the opposite effect. This is something none of the best ozone-layer models, successful as they are for other applications, were able to predict. According to Will Ball, the lead author on the new study,

The reason for the continuing decline is not fully understood, but could be a result of our changing climate, increases in unregulated short-lived chlorine species, or some as yet unknown factor, but chemistry climate models do not reproduce the current changes we find.

W.T. Ball et al. (2018), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,

Across all measured latitudes, an increase in ozone concentration in the upper stratosphere is more than cancelled out by a decrease in the lower stratosphere.

In fact, if you quantify the amount that ozone concentrations, overall, have changed, you find that the amount that ozone in the lower stratosphere has decreased virtually cancels out the increases seen in the other layers. This is an unexpected puzzle, since we understand how ozone is naturally produced in the stratosphere: by the same two ingredients  oxygen and ultraviolet light  that have always produced it. When ultraviolet light strikes an oxygen molecule, it breaks it up into two individual oxygen atoms. Each one can then react with another oxygen molecule, producing ozone molecules, which ought to remain in the stratosphere: where production peaks.

NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

The atmospheric process that creates ozone is straightforward and simple, and yet, cannot explain why the lower stratosphere is losing ozone.

But what we haven't understood well, apparently, is how the produced ozone is redistributed or, potentially, destroyed by other processes. While there are certainly puzzles concerning what the ozone in Earth's atmosphere is doing, the past 20 years of data have shown one thing definitively: it hasn't simply remained constant. (At least, over the latitudes which have been carefully monitored.) From 1998 until 2011, the total ozone column density actually rose, only to fall again back to 1998 levels over the past few years. There is neither a good theory nor a good empirical model for why this is happening, but it will no doubt become one of atmospheric science's biggest open questions.

W.T. Ball et al. (2018), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,

Various trend lines and deseasonalized total column densities of ozone, normalized to 1998 levels. The red line is the best-fit, season-averaged trend line.

The mystery deepens if we look at the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere: the troposphere. This layer, consisting of the closest few kilometers of atmosphere to our surface (and over 80% of the Earth's atmosphere, by mass), has shown an increase in ozone density. Admittedly, the data has only been available with global coverage for approximately 12-13 years, but it's quite convincing: it shows that the ozone density in the lowest layers is rising, just like it is in the upper stratosphere. This makes what's occurring in the mid-to-lower stratosphere all the more puzzling.

W.T. Ball et al. (2018), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,

‘Global’ 60&#9702;S–60&#9702;N total tropospheric column ozone between 2004 and 2016. OMI/MLS integrated ozone (grey line) and deseasonalised timeseries (black). The 2005 and 2016 periods are plotted in blue and red, respectively.

There are five major conclusions to come out of this work, some (but not all) of which are promising:

  1. The Montreal Protocol continues to demonstrate its effectiveness for increasing ozone density in the upper stratosphere, as predicted.
  2. Mysteriously, the lower stratosphere has shown a larger-magnitude ozone decline over the same time period.
  3. Overall, the global mid-latitude ozone density in the stratosphere has slightly decreased, as the lower stratosphere effect has been slightly more powerful.
  4. If you add the tropospheric increases in, the total ozone density has only remained relatively constant.
  5. And finally, the state-of-the-art models do not reproduce the observed ozone levels in the lower layers of the atmosphere.

Although the study that drew these conclusions doesn't have a surefire explanation for this result, there are two possible culprits. One is very short-lived substances (VSLS) that could be destroying portions of the ozone layer; research into that is ongoing. But the second possibility is one that no one's happy about: global warming.

W.T. Ball et al. (2018), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,

Global land and global ocean surface temperature anomalies. Light lines are 12-month running means and heavy lines are 132-month (11-year) running means.

Owing to global warming, there are suggestions that the tropopause has risen and will continue to rise, the troposphere has warmed, and these phenomena may have an effect on ozone concentrations in the lower stratosphere. Furthermore, greenhouse gas-induced climate change appears to be causing an increase in upwelling in the tropics, which could decrease stratospheric ozone there, according to simulations. The exact mechanism responsible for these changes has yet to be identified, but the data is clear: the "100% recovery by 2100" prediction didn't include these results. With this new understanding, that recovery may be stalled or pushed out to extremely long timescales, and global warming may be exacerbating or even causing this trouble. As the Ball et al. paper states:

[A] rise in the tropopause, due to the warming troposphere, could lead to a decrease in ozone at mid-latitudes, but the tropopause rise is also affected by the ozone loss itself...

where ozone in the lower stratosphere is an important factor in radiative forcing of the climate. Based on straightforward physics, reducing lower-stratospheric ozone will offset some of the forcing increase from rising GHGs.

Wikimedia Commons user Kelvinsong

The layers of Earth's atmosphere, as shown here to scale, go up far higher than the typically-defined boundary of space. Every object in low-Earth orbit is subject to atmospheric drag at some level. The stratosphere and troposphere, however, contain over 95% of the mass of Earth's atmosphere, and virtually all of the ozone.

In other words, redistributing the ozone away from the lower stratosphere has actually reduced the radiative forcing that accelerates global warming. Yes, the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica may be shrinking, but we have to examine the global effects of ozone, not just what's occurring at one pole. And when we do, it doesn't look good. The overall concentrations of ozone in the atmosphere, worldwide, have not increased since 1997, but are the same today as they were back then. As Ball and his collaborators state:

The Montreal Protocol is working, but if the negative trend in lower stratospheric ozone persists, its efficiency might be disputed. Restoration of the ozone layer is essential to reduce the harmful effects of solar UV radiation that impact human and ecosystem health. Presently, models do not robustly reproduce the decline in lower stratospheric ozone identified here. This will be imperative, both to predict future changes and to determine if it is possible to prevent further decreases.

If we are to restore the ozone layer and reduce the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation of life on planet Earth (including to humans), we have to figure out what's causing this odd behavior. Whether you're a fan of current climate models or not, getting it right is essential to understanding our world, and keeping it hospitable for not only humans, but for the ecosystems our planet depends on. We only have one planet where life has arisen and sustained itself, as far as we know. It's up to all of us to take care of it.

Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel is the founder and primary writer of Starts With A Bang! His books, Treknology and Beyond The Galaxy, are available wherever books are sold.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 12:31:09 AM by RE »
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🏭 WHO reveals shocking figures on air pollution deaths
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 04:23:21 AM »
Who would be shocked by this?  ???  :icon_scratch:


WHO reveals shocking figures on air pollution deaths

UNITED NATIONS -- You may want to put on a gas mask after you read the latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on urban air pollution. The WHO says nine out of ten people are subjected to high levels of pollutants from the air they breathe.

Outdoor and household air pollution, the report says, kill seven million people every year from "exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia."

The data show a staggering proportion of deaths from seemingly unrelated diseases actually have air pollution to blame; 24 percent of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25 percent from stroke, 43 percent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and 29 percent of lung cancer deaths.

    The surprising source of much U.S. air pollution

Much of the deadly pollution is not caused by the factors most familiar to the Western world, like vehicles and industry, but by pollutants much closer to home.
U.S. cities with the worst air pollution
U.S. cities with the worst air pollution

"It is unacceptable that over three billion people -- most of them women and children -- are still breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes," says WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He says urgent action is needed.

Climate experts say the Paris Climate accord and alleviating the health risk from pollution go hand-in-hand.

"By addressing air pollution, we are going to be curbing the same emissions that cause climate change," Dan Shepard, an information officer with the United Nations Department of Public Information, tells CBS News. "The Paris Agreement lets countries create their own plans to address pollution, to address emissions and to build a healthier and more prosperous world."

Most of the deaths from pollution, the report says, are in low and middle-income countries, but analysts point out that those who travel to those countries for business or tourism can also be affected.

One of the findings is that air pollution is the lowest in high-income countries, but in high-income countries in Europe, for example, air pollution still lowers average life expectancy by anywhere from two months to two years.

The report bases its findings on the world's most comprehensive database on outdoor air pollution. The WHO's database collates information on 4,300 cities in 108 different countries.

The report isn't all bad news; it highlights the efforts of some major cities to cut pollution.

Thirteen cities are commended for plans to reduce outdoor pollution, including pledges to procure zero-emission public buses starting in 2025, including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Rome, Seattle, Auckland and Cape Town. It also notes that Paris, Mexico City, Rome, and Copenhagen have committed to preventing diesel vehicles from their respective city centers.

Even China, with its record levels of pollution, is lauded for rolling out electric bus fleets in some cities. Los Angeles is investing in alternatives to cars. Barcelona is restricting traffic and giving cycle traffic a preference, and Tokyo has "pollution police" to ensure that its strict regulations on automobile emissions are upheld.

The WHO has scheduled a meeting of world leaders at its Geneva headquarters for October 30 – November 1. It will be the first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health to focus on both pollution and climate change.   

Dr. Tedros says he sees progress: "We are seeing more and more governments increasing commitments to monitor and reduce air pollution," with significant action in the transport, housing and energy sectors.
© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Offline azozeo

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Air Pollution Alert - Rising CO2 producing “miracle” re-greening effects
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2018, 11:49:56 AM »
Climate change myth pushers are scientifically illiterate propagandists who have brainwashed themselves against all scientific reality to somehow believe that carbon dioxide is a poison to plants. In truth, it’s the “greening” molecule for the planet, as I’ve repeatedly explained in multiple climate videos, podcasts and climate articles. Now, new science published in Nature demonstrates that global tree cover is rapidly expanding across the planet as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rise to healthier, pro-tree levels that support forest growth and health.

Yes, you read that correctly: Forestation coverage of planet Earth is expanding, not shrinking as we’re all told by the lying globalist media on a daily basis. (The same dishonest media that claimed New York City would now be under water from an apocalypse of melting ice caps… go figure.)
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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🏭 India's air quality plummets to worst possible category
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 06:17:17 AM »


India's air quality plummets to worst possible category

The level of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter that can clog lungs, is over six times higher than the WHO safe level.
6 hours ago

India's air quality plummets to worst possible category

Morning haze envelops the skyline on the outskirts of New Delhi [Altaf Qadri/AP]

India's air quality has plummeted to the worst possible category, the government's Central Pollution Control Board said on Friday.

The level of PM2.5, a tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs, read 187, more than six times higher than the World Health Organization considers safe.

The board warned people to avoid jogging outdoors in the early morning or after sunset and to keep their medications at hand if they are asthmatic. It also advised people to wear masks as a precaution.

The most recent air pollution data from the World Health Organization released in March this year gave India the dubious distinction of having the world's 10 most polluted cities.

India's capital, which once was the world's most polluted city, ranks sixth. But experts say the data does not suggest that New Delhi's air quality has improved, rather that more Indian cities' air has worsened.

A Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Authority warned on Thursday that air pollution in the capital region is likely to peak from November 1 as a change in wind direction brings the toxic fumes from stubble-burning on farms in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab into the region.

"Weather conditions are projected to become adverse from November 1," warned the India Meteorological Department.

Farmers have been ignoring government warnings of imposing a penalty for burning, saying they can't afford to buy harvesting machines that cost up to 50,000 rupees ($675) apiece.

A farmer walks through the smoke of burning farming waste at Palwal, Haryana state [File: Saurabh Das/AP Photo]

Another concern is the upcoming Diwali festival; late last year Delhi was covered in a toxic smog caused in part by the countless firecrackers let off for the festival, forcing authorities to shut power stations, ban construction and clamp down on rubbish burning.

"We are heading into a deadly cocktail with Diwali and peak stubble burning time," an official said on Thursday.

Some activists urged India's top court to order a complete ban on firecrackers this year as Diwali festival falls on November 7. The court, however, only imposed certain conditions for the sale and use of firecrackers.

Among those was an order that firecrackers could only be set off between 8pm and 10pm on November 7 and can not be sold online. It also set the kind of firecrackers that could be manufactured and sold, limiting them to less-polluting types.

Authorities also are trying to reduce the amount of dust in the air by sprinkling water in many neighbourhoods and ordering builders to cover construction sites.

An Indian worker makes firecrackers for the upcoming Hindu festival Diwali at a factory on the outskirts of Ahmadabad, India [Ajit Solanki/AP Photo]
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An Engineering Wunderkind's Ocean Plastics Cleanup Device Hits A Setback



January 5, 20195:04 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered

Michel Martin

Amanda Morris

Ocean Cleanup's System 001 was towed out of the San Francisco Bay on Sept. 8, 2018.

The path to innovation is not always a smooth, straight line. In some cases, it's U-shaped.

In September, a 2,000-foot-long floating barrier, shaped like a U, was dispatched to the Great Pacific garbage patch between Hawaii and California, where roughly 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic have formed a floating field of debris roughly twice the size of Texas. Made of connected plastic pipes, the barrier was meant to catch and clean-up the plastic.

Invented by Boyan Slat when he was just 17, the barrier has so far done some of what it was designed to accomplish. It travels with wind and wave propulsion, like a U-shaped Pac-Man hungry for plastic. It orients itself in the wind and it catches and concentrates plastic, sort of.

But as Slat, now 24, recently discovered with the beta tester for his design, plastic occasionally drifts out of its U-shaped funnel. The other issue with the beta tester, called System 001, is that last week, a 60-feet-long end section broke off.
The Ocean Cleanup YouTube

The first issue, Slat said, was likely due to the device's speed. In a September interview with NPR, he said the device averages about four inches per second, which his team has now concluded is too slow. The break in the barrier was due to an issue with the material used to build it.
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"In principle, I think we are relatively close to getting it working," Slat said in an interview Saturday with NPR's Michel Martin. "It's just that sometimes the plastic is also escaping again. Likely what we have to do is we have to speed up the system so that it constantly moves faster than the plastic."

For the material failure, Slat said his team will probably try to locally reinforce the system to combat the problem of material fatigue.

"If you have a paper clip and you move that back and forward many times, essentially the material gets weaker," he said. "That's likely what has happened with material of the cleanup system."
The Ocean Cleanup YouTube

Slat and the team at his nonprofit, The Ocean Cleanup, are now bringing the system back to Hawaii for repairs and upgrades. Slat told NPR in 2016 that his structure is 10 times further away from land than the world's most remote oil rig, subject to battering waves and storms.

When the material failure occurred, it wasn't due to the result of a major Pacific storm. It was just normal wear and tear, Slat said.

"We've had conditions twice as worse as we had last weekend, but the system already sort of moved back and forth about 1.5 million times since it's been out there," he said.

With an estimated cost of $24.6 million reported by Forbes, and a challenging work environment, the project is high-risk and Slat hopes, high-reward.

Inventor Boyan Slat presented a prototype of The Ocean Cleanup project on June 22, 2016.

But experts on plastic pollution have expressed concerns about the project's effectiveness.

George Leonard, chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, told NPR in September that only 3 to 5 percent of the total amount of ocean plastic actually winds up in systems of circulating currents. He estimates that about 8 million metric tons of plastic go into the ocean each year — roughly the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic every minute.

Critics say efforts should be aimed at preventing plastics from going into the ocean in the first place, and that Slat's barrier project could divert resources away from that goal. Others have expressed concern about the barrier's impact on marine wildlife.
A Massive Floating Boom Is Supposed To Clean Up The Pacific. Can It Work?
A Massive Floating Boom Is Supposed To Clean Up The Pacific. Can It Work?

A prototype of The Ocean Cleanup project floats off the Dutch coast on June 22, 2016.

Slat said that marine wildlife is be able to safely pass underneath a 10-foot deep screen under the pipe meant to catch debris. However, Wired reported that the pipes could attract and lead animals straight into plastic-polluted waters, and may also shed nano-sized particles of plastic into the water when hit with the sun's rays.

The concern is that ultraviolet light from the sun can potentially disintegrate the plastic, but The Ocean Cleanup responded by telling Wired that the high-density polyethylene plastic used in their tubes can reflect UV radiation.

Slat's confidence in his design hasn't wavered, and said he was unfazed by the current setbacks.

Boyan Slat walks in front of his first prototype ocean cleanup device on June 23, 2016.

"Considering the things we have been able to prove in the past few months and considering the problems that we have faced, they seem quite solvable," he said. "I'm confident that the team will be able to design appropriate solutions for this and that we'll have the system back in the patch in a few months from now."

His team hopes to make the system fully operational sometime this year. If the project succeeds, Slat's vision is to deploy a fleet of 60 more devices, projected to remove half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch's plastic within five years.

In this vision, one he has held since his teens, support vessels would act like ocean garbage trucks; ships would carry the plastics back to land, where they would be processed, recycled, and reused — not dumped back into the ocean.

The audio for this story was produced by Dana Cronin and edited by Natalie Winston.
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Offline azozeo

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And Now, the Really Big Coal Plants Begin to Close
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2019, 03:57:48 PM »

When the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona shuts down later this year, it will be one of the largest carbon emitters to ever close in American history.

The giant coal plant on Arizona’s high desert emitted almost 135 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2017, according to an E&E News review of federal figures.

Its average annual emissions over that period are roughly equivalent to what 3.3 million passenger cars would pump into the atmosphere in a single year. Of all the coal plants to be retired in the United States in recent years, none has emitted more.

The Navajo Generating Station isn’t alone. It’s among a new wave of super-polluters headed for the scrap heap. Bruce Mansfield, a massive coal plant in Pennsylvania, emitted nearly 123 million tons between 2010 and 2017. It, too, will be retired by year’s end (Energywire, Aug. 12).
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🏭 India’s smog-bound capital suffers most hazardous air so far this year
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2019, 12:25:37 AM »

India’s smog-bound capital suffers most hazardous air so far this year
Published Sun, Nov 3 20197:16 PM EST
Key Points

    Air pollution in India’s capital New Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday.
    Authorities have already declared a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools.
    The air quality index, measuring levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter in the air, deteriorated to above 900, way over the 500-level that qualifies as “severe-plus”.

Air pollution in New Delhi and surrounding towns reached the worst levels so far this year on Sunday, with authorities in the world’s most polluted capital city having already declared a public health emergency and ordered the closure of schools.

The air quality index, measuring levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter in the air, deteriorated to above 900, way over the 500-level that qualifies as “severe-plus”.

Aside from the harm it was doing to the lungs of some 40 million people living in the capital region, the smog was so bad more than 30 flights were diverted from Delhi airport due to poor visibility.

Roads looked deserted as large numbers of people stayed home, rather than expose themselves to the noxious atmosphere outside.

“Pollution has reached unbearable levels across north India,” Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister said in a message on twitter.

The government environment monitoring agency SAFAR warned that no relief was expected for the next one to two days, as humidity resulting from unexpected light rains overnight had exacerbated pollution, already driven by higher the seasonal crop stubble burning by farmers in the surrounding states.

“Wind speed is picking up and it could take 24 to 48 hours before the pollution level reduces to a level of around 500,” Mahesh Palawat, vice president of Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, said.

Anything above 400 on the AQI poses a risk for people with respiratory illness and can also affect even those with healthy lungs.

Doctors were reporting a spike in patients with respiratory-related issues, according to Sachin Taparia, head of Local Circles, a Delhi-based private consultancy that conducts surveys on government policies and programs.

“Delhi has turned into a gas chamber as the pollution levels hit the ‘severe+’ category,” Taparia said.

A survey of 17,000 people in the Delhi region by his consultancy found that 40% want to get out of the Delhi region because of the failure to control pollution.

Authorities in Delhi on Friday declared a public health emergency and closed schools and all construction activity.

From Monday, the city government will also restrict the use of private vehicles on the capital’s roads under an “odd-even” scheme based on license plates.

“The temporary restrictions on private vehicles will have a negligible impact as we face the most hazardous situation,” said Skymet’s Palawat.

Delhi’s Kejriwal, and the chief ministers from the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana, urged the federal government to do more to combat the pollution.

On Monday, according to a lawyer, the Supreme Court is likely to hear a petition on Monday from the environment agency, looking for ways to make state governments to take tougher action against farmers to curb the stubble-burning. Politicians have been reluctant to upset their farming constituencies.

According to SAFAR, satellite pictures had captured more than 3,000 incidents of stubble burning last week in neighboring states, contributing to 44% of Delhi’s pollution.
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