The Strategist

Officials of the Dirtiest City in the World Swapped Cars for Bicycles

10/22/2015 - 17:56

The Indian capital New Delhi held “car-free day”. The South China Morning Post reports that the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal rode through the streets on a bicycle, accompanied by hundreds of officials.

Adam Jones
Adam Jones
- Residents must leave their cars and use public transport. Since Delhi is becoming more polluted, people need to run and ride a bicycle. In addition, it is good for health - said Kejriwal.

Every day, more than eight and a half million cars jostle on the streets of the Indian capital. The city authorities are often criticized for their inability to cope with high levels of contamination.

According to the World Health Organization, New Delhi is ranked first in the world in terms of concentration of airborne ultrafine dust with a particle diameter of 2.5 micrometers - it does not stay in the upper airways of humans but enters directly into the lungs and blood, and therefore is considered the most dangerous to humans .

In October, the Supreme Court approved the government's decision to tax cars with diesel engines, which often travel through Delhi at night, using the city as a transit point on their way to other states.

Air pollution leads to an annual three million premature deaths around the world, scientists say. Most diseases are associated with severe ozone and fine particulate matter (less than 0.0025 mm in diameter), writes the journal Nature.

Jos Lelieveld and his colleagues compared data on the chemical composition of the atmosphere around the world with statistics on population, health and mortality. It turned out that premature mortality is most influenced by emissions from the household (fireplaces, etc.), especially in India and China.

In some regions of the United States and other developed countries, an important role is played by emissions from motor vehicles and power plants, while agricultural sector sends in the air most of suspended particles in the east of the United States, Europe and Russia.

Scientists have calculated that premature deaths from air pollution will have doubled by 2050, reaching the six million (mainly due to South-East Asia and Western Pacific).

However, there are some positive developments: the authors of the new article in the journal Nature Geoscience note that from 400 to 1,700 deaths per year was averted thanks to the reduction of fires associated with deforestation in the Brazilian jungle. Reform of forestry legislation in the country has helped reduce the concentration of suspended particles in the air by 30 percent.