A Wake-Up Call To Solving Our Nation’s Problems : Air Pollution

Beijing, China and Delhi, India both were tagged as world’s most polluted cities in the world. Let’s compare the actions taken by both the countries to solve the air pollution in these cities.

Beijing, China: China’s Ministry of Environment has sent inspectors to 30 provinces, where they’ve reprimanded, fined, or charged officials in more than 80,000 factories with criminal offenses. China issues 3-day smog alert and orders factories to cut output by 50%. China builds World’s biggest air purifier (and it seems to be working). In 2018, Beijing not listed in Top-10 most polluted cities in the world.

Delhi, India: Supreme Court\NGT bans over 10 years old diesel vehicles in Delhi. Delhi Govt implemented odd-even license plate rule. But nothing helped to solve the air pollution problem in Delhi. Both Central and State Govt gave up on this problem. Here are the world’s top 10 most polluted cities, 9 are in India.
During assembly or general elections-2019, please make sure Solutions to Air Pollution is present in election manifestos.

India is great at solving global problems, not local problems. Life expectancy in India is 68.5 years whereas China, Srilanka, Malaysia is 75+ years. Life expectancy in Japan, UK, Canada is 82+ years. India has given lowest importance to health and life expectancy.

Why you should care?

35 Per cent Children in India Suffer From Poor Lung Health: Survey

In India, which contains many of the world’s most polluted cities, the annual death toll from air pollution exceeds 1.6 million (16 lakhs). In children and adults, both short- and long-term exposure to ambient air pollution can lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections and aggravated asthma. Maternal exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with adverse birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, pre-term birth and small gestational age births. Emerging evidence also suggests ambient air pollution may affect diabetes and neurological development in children.

What is AQI? How does the AQI Works? Click the link if you never heard about it. Understand the AQI and its colors before you continue with this blog. Google for Delhi’s AQI.

Invent\Innovate\IT (I3) To Solve Air Pollution

  • Govt should daily record AQI from all villages, taluks and districts across India and make the data graphically available at https://aqi.mygov.in
  • Expose the AQI Data through API for mobile-apps and IoT device’s. No fee for using AQI data.
  • Govt should mandate all NEW vehicles to display real-time AQI value with color on dashboard (effective from Aug 15, 2025)AQI_Dash
  • Govt should encourage start-up companies to invent AQI key-chains for old vehicles to check the real-time AQI value for any given Geo co-ordinates.
  • Govt should change Telecom policy to send free SMS alert if AQI value is 200 and above.

What are the uses of AQI Indicator in car or any vehicle?

Assume car is idle (red signal) or slow moving traffic (10 mph or 20km/h) and outside AQI>150 unhealthy air. AQI device sends signal to use inside air for ‘XX’ minutes or until speed is 25mph. It increases life of air purifier and less risk to health. It also alerts car driver to use N99 or P95 mask if no air purifier. This will help drivers with air pollution allergies\diseases.

Short-term solution to Air Pollution

Define new business\office hours for schools, govt offices and factories located within 60kms from affected Districts, Cities or Taluks (DCT) to get short-term relief from very unhealthy air.

Govt should mandate below changes if AQI exceeds 200.

  • Govt Office Hours : Govt employees should work from dawn to dusk (7am-7pm), 4 days a week (Monday-Thursday). Not applicable to public transport, medical, police & courts and fire Dept.
  • Factory Hours: factories should be allowed to operate 72hrs per week (Friday-Sunday)
  • Temporary Shutdown: Factories should remain closed for 7 days prior to Independence Day and Republic Day.
  • School Hours : schools (Class 1 to 10) should be opened from 8am to noon, 4 days a week (Monday-Thursday). Schools should adopt online education or TV programs for simple\easy subjects like regional-languages and social-studies. These subjects should be excluded from annual exams.
  • Interest-free Bank Loans: Govt should provide interest-free bank loans to all rental residents to buy air purifiers
  • 5 Free Masks Per Month: Govt should give N99 or P95 masks to students and employees\workers who don’t have personal vehicle(s).
  • Planned Stubble Burning: State govt should announce 45-day schedule to burn the crop waste after harvesting. Based on neighbour states AQI, it should daily announce areas or pincodes to burn the crop waste.
  • AQI awareness: all public transport services (city buses, state buses, metro and trains) should put AQI Basics poster to create awareness on air pollution and it’s diseases. Newspaper should print names of cities, taluks and districts whose AQI is 200 or more.
  • Visit Villages & Tourist Places: 25% off on bus and train round-trip tickets for staying away from air pollution. Minimum 7 days away from polluted place is required to available this discount.
  • Interstate Trucks\Tractors Hours: interstate trucks and tractors should be allowed to enter\exit polluted DCT’s between 9PM to 5AM.

Long-term Solutions to Air Pollution

Govt should achieve and maintain AQI-100 across the nation by 2047. Govt should create AQI awareness and make drivers, business owners, tax payers, investors and govt employees to take full responsibility to progressively achieve the nation’s goal on air quality. Here are few easy to implement ideas:

1. Driving License (DL) With AQI: Govt should re-issue DL’s to show AQI colors based on driver’s age as below:

DL

DL_AQI

(Red, Purple, Maroon – everyone may experience {more serious} health effects)

Example: if your age is 28 then you are allowed to ride\drive your personal vehicle(s) in places where AQI is below 100.

  • DL AQI conditions not applicable to drive\ride commercial & rental vehicles or employed as ‘driver
  • DL AQI is mandatory for new DL applicants starting from Aug 15, 2019
  • DL without AQI should be considered valid until Aug 15, 2025. Driver’s should renew DL’s before this date or apply for new DL.
  • 3 AQI violations in a year leads to suspension of DL for 1-year.
  • DL should be renewed every 5 years for ages 45 and above.
  • Vision and Medical test (air pollution allergies\diseases, BMI, fit-to-ride-drive) is mandatory for age 45 and above.
  • Driver’s with Air pollution allergies\diseases should be allowed to ride\drive in Green+Yellow AQI’s only.

2. Target AQI For Factories:

Central Govt should set Target AQI – 295 FY-2019 and decrease the Target AQI by 5 to 10 points each year. All State Govt should work towards achieving this goal.

Factories should be allowed to operate if the AQI value of nearest districts, cities or taluks (DCT) is less than Target AQI value.

Target AQI is applicable to factories located within 60kms from DCT as below:

Small Factories: 20Kms from DCT
Medium Factories: 40Kms from DCT
Large Factories: 60Kms from DCT

This gives ample time for industries to adapt advanced technology to reduce air pollution or relocate to new remote places. Factories will have social responsibilities to maintain and grow greenary in nearest DCT’s.

3. Vehicle AQI Meter (VAQIM): Vehicle emission test should be done twice a year and VAQIM value should be calculated using below formula. VAQI Meter shows the AQI range permitted for the vehicle (below formula for cars). Replace 400 with some suitable numbers for trucks, bus, vans etc.

VAQIM=49+MAX(1, (400-(Odometer reading/400)+(vehicle_age X 2)))

VAQIM

Govt should fix Rs.24 for VAQIM sticker. VAQIM will make drivers to find shortest path to destination and use the vehicle only when necessary because every KMs counts in VAQIM.

Petrol bunk or Gas stations should record the odometer reading and license plate before filling the fuel. Data collection hours: 7AM to 7PM.

VAQI Data should be uploaded at https://vaqi.mygov.in website. Vehicle owner may visit nearest RTO office to correct the recorded odometer value within 30 days from transaction date.

4. City Taxi-2030: Govt should mandate electric cars for city taxi’s for AQI range 150 to 300 effective from Aug 15, 2030 . Petrol\Diesel taxi’s should be allowed for AQI range 0 to 150. Ten years of advance notice to all taxi drivers\owners helps them to plan for future AQI demands.

5. Air Purifiers Inside Vehicle: Govt should mandate air purifiers in city taxi’s and public transport if AQI is 200 and above (effective date Aug 15, 2025). More info on air purifiers inside vehicle – AirBubble product

6. Build Air Purifier Towers: above suggested ideas will generate revenue to govt, use that revenue to build Air purifier towers in most air polluted cities in India. Learn from China or outsource the project to China.

7. Adopt-a-Park(AAP): please read my another blog on AAP.

How To Fight Air Pollution In India?

Schools should organize Silent Parade (8am-9am) on World Environment Day to create awareness and protest against Air and\or Water pollution. Parents, Teachers & Traffic Police department should support students and make the parade a successful event. Students should learn from today’s problems and protect their future. They should demand for clean air from State\Federal Govt to play outdoor games. Pollution-free state\country should be there first demand to be fulfilled by Govt before they cast vote for the first time.

Overall benefits: job creation and improved life-expectancy…

Sharing is caring, please share the blog with friends and colleagues to solve air pollution problem and save our families, children’s from air pollution allergies\diseases.

Thank You. #ICanBreathe2030

2 thoughts on “A Wake-Up Call To Solving Our Nation’s Problems : Air Pollution

  1. very good list. some actions are not difficult and really important, such as reporting AQI regularly to create awareness.

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