Air Pollution: Green court sets up 8-member task force to fix state accountability

To fix the issue of government accountability India’s green court, the national Green Tribunal, has constituted an eight-member National Task Force to monitor remedial steps to improve air quality. The court said authorities at higher levels must function as trustees for discharge of constitutional and statutory obligation to the citizens. The court added that there was no other magic wand to protect people against an acknowledged sorry state of affairs. India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases. 

The court observed that accountability in terms of adverse entries in the annual confidential reports and recovery of compensation for non-compliance were imperative for fixing accountability. Officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Petroleum, Transport, Power, Agriculture, Health and the Central Pollution Control Board will be included in the national task force.

Indian businesses lose $95 billion annually to air pollution: Study

According to a new study by consulting firm Dalberg Advisors, Clean Air Fund and the Confederation of Indian Industry, air pollution costs Indian businesses $95 billion annually. The report stated that the loss is equal to 50% of all tax collected annually. 

India’s workers take 1.3 billion days off work per year because of the health issues arising from air pollution— amounting to $6 billion in lost revenue. The research added that dirty air has huge ramifications on workers’ cognitive and physical performance, lowering their on-the-job productivity and thereby decreasing business revenues by up to $24 billion. 

COVID-19 predominantly spreads through air: Lancet study 

COVID-19 is predominantly transmitted through air and much less from large droplets, says a new study published in the Lancet. Public health measures that fail to treat the virus as predominantly airborne leave people unprotected and allow the virus to spread, according to the six experts who authored the study. Researchers identified 10 lines of evidence to show that the airborne theory was true. Experts say that makes people far more vulnerable to the spread of infection if they breathe polluted air. 

Majority of European city-dwellers want petrol and diesel car sales banned by 2030

A survey commissioned by Brussels-based campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E), has found that the majority of residents of European cities support a Europe-wide phaseout of combustion engine car sales from 2030. The poll said of 10,050 survey respondents, 63% said they supported the idea that after 2030, only emission-free cars should be sold in Europe.

The online survey was conducted in 15 cities including London, Warsaw and Budapest, with an average of 29% opposing the idea of ending petrol and diesel car sales, while 8% said they did not know. In all cities, a majority of respondents – ranging from 51% in Antwerp and Berlin, to 77% in Rome – supported a ban. “People in cities are the most exposed to toxic levels of air pollution, and they don’t want internal combustion engines to be sold for any longer than is necessary,” T&E’s senior vehicles director Julia Poliscanova said.

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