No jail time: The new Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR bill to be tabled by the Centre has reportedly dropped the jail term for crop stubble burning in favour of “environmental compensation fees” | Photo: News 18

MoEF to table bill for panel on NCR air pollution, drops jail term clause for crop stubble burning

The Centre plans to table the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill this week in the Parliament. According to the Indian Express, the government dropped the clause of a jail term over burning the crop stubble. Instead, the Centre proposed to levy environmental compensation fees on acts of stubble burning. A ministry official said the farmers do not have an issue with compensation, but they wanted the clause of imprisonment to be dropped. 

The proposed commission will replace the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). It will coordinate the actions of the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in curbing air pollution as well as stubble burning.

The all-powerful commission will have the powers to shut down polluting units and overrule directives issued by the state governments in the region, which may be in violation of pollution norms.

Air-pollution primary cause of heart diseases, strokes and Type-2 diabetes in India: Survey

A survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) revealed that air pollution is the primary reason behind a rise in non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases, strokes and Type-2 diabetes in India. The survey suggested that the prevalence of having any NCDs among the population is 116 per 1,000 population in India. 

The survey found the state of Odisha to have the highest prevalence of NCDs (272 per 1,000 population), while Gujarat registered the lowest prevalence (60 per 1,000). The prevalence of NCDs among males is 119 per 1,000 male population, while for females it is 113 per 1,000 female population.

Prepared by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI), the survey revealed that NCDs increase after 18 years and rise sharply when an individual crosses the age of 35 years. The survey said that more than two-thirds of individuals suffering from NCDs are in the most productive-life age groups i.e., 26-59 years. 

Delhi to implement “system” to identify precise sources of air pollution, real time

This year, Delhi plans to implement the Decision Support System (DSS), a real-time pollution tracking model developed by the scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, in order to identify the contribution of known sources, such as vehicle tailpipe emissions, road dust, and farm fires.

The DSS will reveal the precise sources of air pollution in Delhi, which will help authorities to turn their attention to specific triggers. The system will plug into existing networks of air quality monitors, and leverage tagging of pollution sources. This will be the first real-time pollution source monitoring system to be used for Delhi. Experts say, for instance, it will help determine if the air is bad due to traffic or because of smoke from farm fires at a particular time.

Smoke from wildfires in west US spike pollution in the cities on the eastern coast

Smoke from more than 80 major wildfires burning in western US spiked the air pollution to hazardous levels in eastern American and Canadian cities, including Philadelphia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh and Toronto, and New York. The air quality in New York City was among the worst in the world and state officials advised vulnerable people, such as those with asthma and heart disease, to avoid strenuous outdoor activity as air pollution soared. 

Experts said satellite images showed the smoke from the western fires entered into Canada and spread to the east, plunging states such as Minnesota into unhealthy air conditions. Experts pointed out that this is the second consecutive year that smoke from huge wildfires in the west has traveled 2,000 miles east, with the western region baked by ongoing drought and soaring temperatures fueled by human-caused climate change.

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