[Notes] Air Pollution Some Points

1.  Examples of recent incidence (Case Study):

Forest fire in Indonesia’s Sumatra Is. (June,2013)

      Blame on land clearing operations by plantation owners & accidental peat fire
      Residents to live indoors as haze from forest fire reach unhealthy levels
      Cases of respiratory infection on the rise
      Pollutant index shot up to 293
     Above 200 is considered very unhealthy
      Singapore & malaysia too badly affected
     Singapore: air pollution level reached “harzardous mark” for the first time in the country’s history
     Malaysia: haze cover in kaula Lampur

Intense smog in Chinese cities, Jan 2013
      Prompted govt. to pledge fresh emission curbs
      Suspend work in 58 factories
      Prompted public outcry
      Criticism of China’s growth policy
     Air-borne particulate matter with a dia of  2.5 microns or less
     WHO: above 100 µg/m3 is unhealthy for sensitive groups
     993 in Beijing
      Air Quality Index: reached 500
      Cancer mortality rates on the rise in China
     Lung cancer no.1 major cause
     Lung problems related to air pollution
      Fourth Highest Mortility rate: Respiratory disease, to a big extent related to air quality
      Effect on Tourism:
     One of the most visited countries in the world
     World’s no. 3 destination for international travel after France & US
     Sharply fewer tourist this year
     Partly due to air pollution
     Following January’s eye-shearing levels of smog
2.   Emissions from coal-fired power plants
·         Taking a heavy toll on human life across large parts of India
·         Premature death & asthma cases from exposure to PM10
·         2011-12: 111 coal-fired power plants with total generation capacity of 121 GWà huge quantum of PM2.5, SO2,Nox, CO, VOCs, CO2
·         Huge burden on health cost
·         Largest impact in Delhi, Harayana,Maharashtra, MP, Chattisgarh, Indo-gangetic plain, central-east India
3.  Indoor Pollution
·         Cooking & heating with solid fuels- coal, wood, dung, farm residue- continues across the globe
a.    70% people India use these fuels
b.   75% in rural
c.    22% in urban
d.   80% of household energy consumption in India
·         Inefficient burning- mix of pollutants, primarily CO & particulate matters
·         WHO,2009: 2 million death
·         Worst hit:
a.    poor—stay-at-home women & children
b.   SEA & SubSaharan Africa
·         GOI’s Action
a.    Several initiatives in the past to develop, produce & distribute improved cookstove or chulhas throughout rural India
b.   National Program on Improved Chulhas (NPIC) by the Min. of New & Renewable Energy
c.    These initiatives unable to deliver promises
4. WtE (Waste to Energy) Incineration
      Touted as answer to municipal waste accumulation
      Emit toxic gases-volatile organic gases & heavy metals
      Among the top five emission of dioxins worldwide
      incinerators in Okhla, New Delhi:
     Air samples around : life threatening levels of particulates & toxic chemicals
     Residents around: evidence of linking incidence of cancer & low birth-weight to incinerator emission
      Power generation through mixed waste generation fails
     “energy recovery from urban & industrial waste” of the MNRE’s flagship program (to generate 84MW of power from waste) fails to contribute even a single unit of power to the grid
      For energy generation, incinerators are very expensive & inefficient
      Not climate-friendly:
     USEP: incinerator releases 2.5 more CO2/MW than coalfired power plants
      Europe committed to ending of landfilling & incineration of recycleble waste by 2020
5. Dioxins
      one of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that causes cancer even in low dose
      Insoluble in water
-  When settled on land/water bodies, absorbed by terrestrial & aquatic vegetation
-  Travel up the food chain to animals & fish, to man
      Living organisms cannot metabolise them
-  Present in high conc. In milk, egg, meat
      In humans, impairs the functioning of liver, immune & reproductive system & cause cancer
      US Env.Protection Agency in 1994: “most poisonous substances known to man”
      Finland: govt. shut down an incineration plant when dioxin level in surrounding vegetation was found high
      Delhi govt. continues despite dioxin & furan levels high

6. Way out to garbage problem- Gasification
      Incomplete combustion of organic matter with the release of CO & H2 instead of CO2 found in usual combustion easily synthesized into dimethyl ether, a superior diesel substitute & a complete substitute for LPG
      Eliminates dioxin threat
     High temperature breaks down dioxin & furan into their basic elements
      Cities & municipal corporations around the world begun to switch to gasification
      Prospect of Gasification in India
     Rising no. of Indians living in citiesà growing garbage generation
     Volume of transport fuel that can be replaced
     Saving in foreign exchange (reducing oil import)
     Free domestic prices from the yoke of international oil prices
     Save fuel subsidies

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