Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Indian Capital Declares Emergency as Toxic Smog Thickens By the Hour ( 129

New Delhi, the Indian capital declared a pollution emergency on Thursday as toxic smog hung over the city for a third day and air quality worsened by the hour. From a report: Illegal crop burning in the farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhaust emissions in a city with limited public transport and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis, which arises every year. The problem has been compounded this year by still conditions, the weather office said. A U.S. embassy measure of tiny particulate matter PM 2.5 showed a reading of 608 at 10 a.m. when the safe limit is 25. An hour before it was 591.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Indian Capital Declares Emergency as Toxic Smog Thickens By the Hour

Comments Filter:
  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @01:30PM (#55519949)
    And the worst part is that it didn't even smell like samosas.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @01:36PM (#55519991) Homepage
    Downtown Los Angeles air quality (PM2.5) is only 54 currently. 600 is practically thick enough to stand on.
    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @04:08PM (#55521225)

      And little more perspective... This incident in India is similar to the 1948 Donora Smog event in Donora, PA, where steel factory air pollution and an unusual weather event created a smog that over the town that sickened thousands and killed 20 people. It was one of the key events that triggered the clean air movement in the US and eventually led to the Clean Air Act. []

    • Yeah, visibility is currently 0.3 miles. Which is ridiculous.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      What about China's?

      • What about China's?

        In Beijing - similar ; in the Himalayas far lower. Unsurprisingly. On average, it's bad but slowly decreasing.

        The Chinese understand perfectly well that this is damaging to people's health, and reducing their productivity while increasing health expenditure. Which is why they're investing a lot of money in technologies to reduce their air pollution. And no matter how cheaply Trump produces American coal (by killing large numbers of Trump voters), they'll never buy the stuff.

  • Moar clean energy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jaredm1 ( 1620295 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @01:37PM (#55520003)
    India definitely needs to invest more in cleaner energy. Population densities mean that the masses owning a combustion powered vehicle like in Europe & the US will have a greater impact. China realised this (better late than never) and are at least taking steps to clean up their cities. India needs to follow. I find it amusing that JLR (owned by an Indian company) are making their first electric car an SUV. If it were me, I'd also have been making an electric mini-car and electric motorcycle targeted at developing economies.
    • Re:Moar clean energy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @01:44PM (#55520051)

      China does have a large campaign to install solar energy and move to electric cars. []
      Recently, India’s road transport minister Nitin Gadkari quite bluntly made the government’s intentions clear. “We should move towards alternative fuelI am going to do this, whether you like it or not,” Gadkari told India’s automobile lobby group, SIAM, on Sept. 07. “And I am not going to ask you. I will bulldoze it.” []
      Solar power in India is a fast developing industry. As of September, 2017 the country's solar grid had a cumulative capacity of 14.77 GW.[1] India quadrupled its solar-generation capacity from 2,650 MW on 26 May 2014 to 12,289 MW on 31 March 2017. The country added 3.01 GW of solar capacity in 2015-2016 and 5.525 GW in 2016-2017, the highest of any year, with the average current price of solar electricity dropping to 18% below the average price of its coal-fired counterpart.
      India's initiative of 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 is an ambitious target, since the world's installed solar-power capacity in 2017 is expected to be 303 GW.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rei ( 128717 )

        When it comes to EVs, India has brought these problems on themselves. They insist on cars sold locally being made with at least 30% locally manufactured components, a protectionist policy that has been very successful at keeping foreign-made EVs out. But local EV manufacture in India is in its infancy.

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          That just means they have to incentivize a foreign manufacturer to build a local plant and source local materials. I don't know what kind of incentives that India is willing or able to provide but I'm sure they could come up with something.. its not like they're a small powerless country.

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            The problem is that decent EVs aren't just made off the shelf. They're designed from the ground-up as EVs, and involve a lot of high-tech products as a significant portion of both their part counts and value. India is the last place you would look to to try to source parts for a modern EV.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @02:54PM (#55520591) Homepage

      India definitely needs to invest more in cleaner energy.

      I agree, but I will point out that the pollution in question comes from burning fields, not from energy production or transportation. [] []

    • India definitely needs to invest more in cleaner energy

      Or maybe they can start by not setting half the country on fire every winter through illegal crop burning. This happens every year around this time.

      • Seems like it'd be easy enough to declare a state of emergency and shoot a few farmers who start fires.

  • by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <> on Thursday November 09, 2017 @01:44PM (#55520055) Homepage
    Surely there is an AI-Based app that will let them escape the Smog. AI and Apps are the answer to everything now.
  • They should introduce designated smogging streets.

  • But is it warm there? It's not warm here. I like warm
  • No, I'm serious.

    Replace all parking lanes on arterials with barrier-separated bicycle and transit lanes.

    Destroy all vehicles other than public transit and bicycles using those lanes.

    Problem solved.

    • Donald Trump doesn't like bicycles.
      “I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal, who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg. I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you.”
      So it is spoken
      • Pretty sure the capital of India doesn't care what either of these two Americans think.

        Did you know that China has 10 times more emissions per capita than India? It's just that a lot of people in India use cars, cabs, and motorcycles that are very polluting.

        • They don't use bicycles in India because they want to. Hardly anyone can afford cars and trucks.
    • No, I'm serious. Replace all parking lanes on arterials with barrier-separated bicycle and transit lanes. Destroy all vehicles other than public transit and bicycles using those lanes. Problem solved.

      And that will solve the problem of pollution caused by burning agricultural waste in the fields [] how, exactly?

      see: "Farmers’ Unchecked Crop Burning Fuels India’s Air Pollution" []

  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <.kepler1. .at.> on Thursday November 09, 2017 @02:08PM (#55520249)
    The problem isn't smog. It's that the Indian system of government + their citizens' learned behavior in such a system makes the country ungovernable, and so it's impossible to get people to follow rules.

    It's a societal problem, and note I didn't say that Indian people are the problem. Take Indian people out of India and here in the US, they follow rules.

    The problem is when enough people don't follow rules in a country, the otherwise-willing rest give up and say, "why should I follow the rules?"

    Sometimes, democracy isn't great, and you need a little bit of authoritarianism...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 09, 2017 @02:28PM (#55520395)

      Sometimes, democracy isn't great, and you need a little bit of authoritarianism...

      As a person who has been to India many times, I agree with most everything you say--but would like to comment that I don't agree democracy isn the problem, people will vote for good politicians and laws.

      As you said, it's a society that turns their eyes on those who don't follow those laws that is the problem.

      It's like a child that is well behaved for their friends' parents, but at home with their own parents they are disobedient... they have learned that they can get away with nearly anything and so they do, and the parents at some point become ineffective at discipline.

      I believe America has the same issue in some places where there are strict laws on the books but are selectively enforced--when that happens you have a system that become corrupt because now the ones who should be enforcing the law become de facto prosecution and judgement.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 09, 2017 @03:20PM (#55520845)

        A great example of laws that are ignored in North America are bylaws/city ordinances. Every city has unbelievable piles of these, to the point that I can't find anyone on my street without a violation.

        Since the laws are written to make things feel good/look good, they are consistently ignored except by quacks who want to start a feud with neighbours by calling the city and having the laws enforced against a particular person. For an example in my city, the books say you can't park on the street for longer than 3 hours ANYWHERE.

        Of course, in residential areas, people have friends over and they will park on the street for the day. This bothers nobody as the streets are plenty wide enough for it.

        If you own a home in a city, go ahead and look at the codes. I guarantee if you look hard enough you will find one you're violating. Perhaps your fence is an inch too tall, your car parked with a wheel slightly on the grass, maybe you left your bike beside the fence despite property setbacks? Or that $599 tiny shed you got from Home Depot actually needed a permit. Is your driveway wide enough or long enough? Do you have a planter on the corner to stop people cutting through your lawn? Did you make even the slightest sound outside at any time? Let your kids sleep in a tent in the backyard one night? Hung a clothesline to your house? And so on...

        I know those stupid rules well because I have a quack neighbour who likes to call the city. Fun fact: You can make your home a total eyesore and pass the cities rules if you read them well enough (turns out I can put swingsets and other children's playtoys all over my front yard, only took one night to move them from the backyard, more convenient to make sure nobody gets hurt to boot!). I should know, that was my passive aggressive way of getting that neighbour to quit calling the city. :P

      • people will vote for good politicians and laws

        Not True [] [] []
    • I may have to go to India this year for work. While I have worked with Indian people here as well as in India for many years, I simply do not want to go. I have no desire to see dead bodies rotting in a river, or public feces. These are things that should not happen at this scale in this day and age. It's their society, but I don't understand their caste system or why they can't solve sanitation issues that cause
      569 million people poop outside. []

      • No doubt. I have had at least three "opportunities" to go to India. I refused (at one point with my employer threatening to fire me otherwise). Co-workers who went came back with horrible stories of illness and crime. I still have *zero* regrets and will *never* willingly go to India.
  • Did they call tech support? Did they try turning it off and on again?

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Thursday November 09, 2017 @04:25PM (#55521327)
    I recently saw a documentary about India's energy issues. It turns out that in many of the major cities, the power grid is so unstable that businesses depend upon the almost daily use of backup generators. These backup generators are, of course, fossil-fueled. Imagine several thousand diesel generators running on top of the daily traffic and it is easy to see why air pollution is a significant problem.
  • "Capital" == assets. "Capitol" == seat of government.
    • Nope:

      "Capital" == money or other liquid assets, or the the most important city in a region, typically, the city that is the seat of government and its administrative center.

      "Capitol" == the building that houses the legislature.

  • Why are they receiving money from the Paris accord on pollution? Is the Accord just a scam to transfer wealth from Europe and North America to nations like India? How does that help the environment?
  • That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.