More of this, please: London’s ULEZ initiative is a much-needed step to improve its air quality, that may be replicated elsewhere | Image credit: BetaNews

London gets world’s first 24×7 pollution charge zone

London implemented the world’s first round-the-clock Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) within which vehicles will have to meet tough norms or pay a charge. Described as one of the strongest measures yet taken to limit vehicular emissions, critics say the norms could be tougher if the government had banned polluting vehicles instead of just charging them. Polluters will have to pay a daily charge of around $16 for some cars, vans and motorbikes and $130 for trucks and buses.

Traffic pollution results in 4 million child asthma cases a year: Study

In a landmark finding, scientists said pollution from cars and trucks result in 4 million child asthma cases a year, which translates to 11,000 cases every day. The study says it’s not just children in China and India that were suffering, but in cities in the US and UK, traffic pollution was causing a quarter of all new child asthma cases.

Los Angeles and New York are among top 10 worst affected cities. Most worryingly, the study says most of the new child asthma cases are from cities where the air pollution level is already lower than World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, indicating that toxic air is even more harmful than we thought.

‘Tall promises in manifestos of India’s political parties, little action on the ground’

Climate Trends, a Delhi based organisation, released analyses of action taken by leaders against air pollution. Titled “Political Leaders’ Position and Action on Air Quality in India” the report highlighted that Members of Parliament in 14 Indian cities, tagged as the most polluted globally by WHO 2018, have done little to get their cities to comply with safe air quality standards locally.

The report says the manifestos of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and CPI (M), all mention air pollution, but none of them promise to do the job of cleaning India’s toxic air in the next five years.

Delhi firms losing talent due to pollution

Corporations in Gurugram, the polluted business suburb of Delhi, are finding it tough to hire and retain talent because of the city’s hazardous air quality attributed to vehicular pollution, construction and crop burning. Travel portal MakeMyTrip in Cyber City and software company Nagarro in Udyog Vihar carried out employee surveys and found that nearly half of them and their families had respiratory problems, 75% considered leaving, and 74% preferred cleaner air over an increment. An employee and their family spend ₹16,187, on an average, yearly to fight air pollution. A Greenpeace report published in March, said Gurugram was the most polluted city in the world in 2018.

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