Dissolved: Members of the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi-NCR were reportedly surprised on learning about the the dissolution of the body five months after its formation | Photo: Greenpeace Media

Air pollution body dissolves as Centre fails to introduce Bill

The Commission for Air Quality Management, which was formed as  a ‘permanent’ body to address pollution in the National Capital Region, Delhi became non-functional within five months of its formation in October by an ordinance. This because the Centre failed to introduce a bill in Parliament within six weeks of the commencement of the Ordinance. The commission was supposed to address sources of pollution in Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh . It had powers to coordinate action among states, levy fines — ranging up to ₹1 crore or five years of prison — to address air pollution. According to The Hindu, members of the commission were taken aback by the dissolution, which they learnt of only through newspaper reports. The Opposition asked the government to clarify whether it intends to convert the ordinance into an Act before the current Parliament session ends.

Pay and pollute? Experts see red as Centre mulls one law to replace air, water and environment acts

The Centre will soon propose a single law to govern activities related to air, water and environment, reported HT, quoting one of the senior-most officials in the environment ministry. The new environmental management law will combine the Air Act 1981, Water Act 1974, and the Environment (Protection) Act 1986. The report said the law has been mooted to tackle overlaps in green laws, but experts point out that the proposed plan will normalise environmental damage as it discards a precautionary approach for environmental protection. They added that the law will reduce flouting of environmental laws to a routine matter that can be managed through monetary payments.

The law will introduce new environment management tools such as emissions trading schemes and extended producer responsibility. Campaigners called the proposal a closed-door affair without any public engagement.

Delhi world’s most polluted for the third time; 35 of 50 most polluted cities in India: Report

For the third consecutive year, New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital in 2020, according to IQAir, a Swiss group that monitors air quality levels based on the concentration of cancerous airborne particles known as PM2.5. Thirty-five of the world’s 50 most polluted cities were found in India, according to IQAir. The data was gathered from 106 countries based on their annual average of particulate matter PM2.5, which are airborne particles that are less than 2.5 microns in diameter.

According to the report, New Delhi’s average annual concentration of PM2.5 in a cubic meter of air was 84.1 which was more than double the levels in Beijing. Around 54,000 premature deaths were reported in New Delhi in 2020, according to a recent study by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Analysis and IQAir.

Siberian air polluted by microplastics: Study

 A new study of snow samples from 20 different Siberian regions –- from the Altai mountains to the Arctic – have confirmed the presence of airborne plastic fibres in remote parts of the wilderness. Scientists at Tomsk State University (TSU) are studying snow polluted with microplastics that then melts and seeps into the ground. They said it’s not just rivers and seas that are involved in circulating microplastics, but also the soil and living creatures.

Through these snow samples, scientists are now trying to understand to what degree population density, the proximity of roads and other human activity contribute to the pollution.

Global airline emission plans not good for EU climate goals, study warns

A new study stated that the United Nations scheme for the global airline industry to offset emissions with carbon credits may upset Europe’s climate goals. The UN aviation body’s CORSIA scheme to tackle airline CO2 emissions, requires airlines to offset future emissions growth by buying credits from projects such as renewable energy or CO2-absorbing forests.

But a study conducted for the European Union concluded that the scheme wont result in decrease  of emissions from air travel because it prices carbon too low to incentivise emissions cuts, Reuters reported. Experts said the study is warning the EU to take back responsibility for addressing pollution of European flights.

The EU aims to eliminate its net emissions by 2050. The study said that relying on the UN scheme rather than the EU carbon market to curb international flight emissions “would risk undercutting Europe’s climate policies and goals.”

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