. Greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities can significantly alter the pattern of monsoon flow over the tropical Indo-Pacific Oceans and lead to an increase in tropical cyclones over the west Pacific.

Study links air pollution to the weakening of Indian monsoon

The Indian monsoon has weakened over the past few decades, in part, by air pollution and a rise in west Pacific tropical cyclones, according to a study by researchers from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune. Greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities can significantly alter the pattern of monsoon flow over the tropical Indo-Pacific Oceans and lead to an increase in tropical cyclones over the west Pacific, the study stated. A higher frequency of tropical Pacific cyclones can cause a weakening of the monsoon, as it is associated with moisture depletion over India. IITM scientist Dr TP Sabin said, “Monsoon in India depends on low-level moisture transport from the Indian Ocean towards the Indian landmass. This flow tends to weaken due to human-induced pollution as per our model simulations.” reported TOI.

Tata Steel begins hydrogen gas injection trial to make greener steel

Tata Steel started a trial to inject hydrogen gas at its blast furnace in the eastern city of Jamshedpur, the company’s flagship plant. This is the country’s attempt to reduce metallurgical coke usage and cut carbon emissions. The company used 40% of the injection systems in the trial on Sunday, Tata Steel said in a statement, adding that it was the first time in the world that such a large quantity of hydrogen gas was continuously injected in a blast furnace. 

Reuters reported that the trial can potentially reduce coke rate by 10%, translating into a 7% to 10% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of crude steel produced. India has set green hydrogen consumption targets for some industries like steel, to meet its net-zero by 2070 target.

Indoor air pollution is slowing down brain development in babies: study 

Indoor air pollution is damaging the cognitive development of babies under two years old in India, according to a study by researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Scientists pointed out that indoor air quality is linked to cooking fuels, efforts to reduce cooking emissions should be a key target for intervention, reported DTE. The team collected in-home air quality data from rural India, focusing on PM2.5 levels. This study is the first to establish an association between poor air quality and cognitive problems in infants under two, the report said.

Families from various socio-economic backgrounds in Shivgarh, a village in Uttar Pradesh were part of the research. Scientists observed poor air quality in households that used solid cooking materials such as cow dung cake. Infants from these houses had lower visual memory scores at six and nine months of age. They also had slower visual processing speeds from 6-21 months.

Very small particulate fragments in the air are a major concern as they can move from the respiratory tract into the brain, said John Spencer, lead researcher from UEA’s School of Psychology.

China’s air quality sees improvement, but remains in dangerous territory

Air quality in China, which deteriorated rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s, has improved steadily over the past decade. PM 2.5 levels peaked around 50-60 micrograms/m3 and have been falling since 2013, following the launch of the country’s Air Quality Action Plan. The plan introduced mandates on modernising thermal power plants with equipment to remove sulfur dioxide, which can contribute significantly in the formation of PM2.5 particles in the atmosphere. Levels of these particles, however, still remain 6-7 times higher than the WHO-endorsed guideline. According to the researchers who published the findings, further improvements will hinge on how and when coal power can be replaced in the country.

EU car manufacturers make record profits but fight €150 pollution fixes

A new analysis found that while European car manufacturers are making record profits, they are fighting  €150 pollution fixes to curb air pollution. The analysis found that Europe’s five big carmakers have more than doubled their annual profits since 2019 to €64 billion. The existing EU proposals to tighten air pollution rules would cost at most €150 per car. However,   the car industry is opposing this proposal, claiming that it would be too expensive to comply with. The analysis revealed that European car manufacturers are paying out unprecedented amounts to CEOs and shareholders. More ambitious pollution limits, compared to the current proposals, would cost Europe’s largest carmaker, Volkswagen, €5.7 billion over the entire lifetime of the regulation. This is just 37% of its 2022 profits, the analysis estimated.