ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mainstreaming Built Environment for Air Pollution Management Plan in Delhi

The air quality levels are degrading in urban areas posing severe implications for human health and lifestyle. The quality of air we breathe is not only determined by the location of pollution sources and the emission levels but also the built environment. In this article, the link between air quality levels and the built environment in Delhi considering data within a 1 km buffer area of the air quality monitoring stations is presented.

The Myth of Sustainable Development in Mumbai’s Infrastructure Projects

The flip side of the ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects in Mumbai is explored. The concept of sustainable development is juxtaposed with the ramifications these projects have on the environment, and some important ecological questions are raised.

Sustainable Development as Environmental Justice

The principle of sustainable development has evolved to occupy centrality in environmental jurisprudence in India. The Supreme Court has reiterated its importance in the country's environmental legal regime. However, the jurisprudence has been criticised for framing it as a zero sum game where economic development has been repeatedly used as a justification to trump environmental violations, and therefore, rendering it as only declaratory and lacking in content and sufficient teeth to shape public action. But this has compelled policy and statutory recognition of the principle of sustainable development. The National Green Tribunal Act of 2010 recognises it too. This statutory recognition has paved the way for a robust jurisprudence spearheaded by the NGT that has actively sought to evolve a standard of review for public actions in effectuating the principle of sustainable development and in doing so has departed from the reductionist utilitarianism that had characterised the jurisprudence of Supreme Court.

Dirty Flows the Ganga

One of the first announcements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi pertained to cleaning the Ganga. But this is not the first time an attempt has been made to clean the river. River cleaning schemes initiated in 1974, 1985, 1993, 1996 and 2008-09 have been monumental failures. While the Prime Minister's announcement was followed by a lot of rhetoric and initial moves towards the goal were frantic, two years later, there has been little improvement in the state-of-affairs. This article looks at some of the problems that have dogged programmes designed to clean the river and suggests measures to address the pitfalls.

From LPG Connections to Use

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide concessional LPG connections, is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done by 2019 and beyond to ensure homes in India cook using modern fuels. This article explores the issues of providing connections, subsidy provisioning and ensuring sustained use of LPG and other modern fuels, so as to displace solid fuels from Indian kitchens. It also highlights the need for planning for increased demand and addressing institutional gaps to ensure that the benefits of modern fuel adoption, especially health benefits, are realised.

Weather Conditions and Air Pollution

To understand the impact of the odd-even policy in Delhi researchers will need to take into account prevailing weather conditions of not just Delhi, but also its outskirts and neighbouring states.

Transport and Health

There has been much firefighting in Delhi in the name of clean air, but very little effort in understanding the causes of air pollution. So while we know that urban air pollution poses serious health risks to people living in Indian cities, we do not have a consensus on the details regarding the sources of the pollutants. This is mainly because central and local governments have not invested in setting up and funding an adequate number of research groups in academic institutions to conduct detailed studies around the country. Such neglect leads to knee-jerk reactions like the odd-even scheme.

Haze and Smoke

We are killing our urban residents through the air they breathe.

Lower Pollution, Longer Lives

India's population is exposed to dangerously high levels of air pollution. Using a combination of ground-level in situ measurements and satellite-based remote sensing data, this paper estimates that 660 million people, over half of India's population, live in areas that exceed the Indian National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate pollution. Reducing pollution in these areas to achieve the standard would, we estimate, increase life expectancy for these Indians by 3.2 years on average for a total of 2.1 billion life years. We outline directions for environmental policy to start achieving these gains.

Polluting Units

The relocation of small-scale industrial units that do not conform to pollution standards is not a long-term sustainable solution. The regulating authority should create conditions conducive to innovation and help in the identification of cost-effective ways of dealing with the problem.

Water Resources, Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services

The second biennial conference of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics on the theme of 'Water Resources, Sustainable Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services' brought together researchers and practitioners and gave them an opportunity to present their findings and dialogue on topics that ranged from technical to interdisciplinary.

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