In a bid to reduce the impact of pollution on public health, governments worldwide have begun to take serious measures to check the fouling of the air in congested cities. Some of these steps would rock many industries and affect livelihood of many people at certain point.
The current global crackdown on pollution will not only improve public health, but will also shape the future of technology and industries. This shift is evident in developed nations and top emerging economies such as China and India. The industries of these economies are quickly switching over to environment-friendly technologies and clean energy. But while this switchover takes place, the livelihood issues should not be downplayed.
In New Delhi, the court ban on diesel cabs triggered a protest of hundreds of taxi drivers who felt the move affected their livelihood. The ban will impact about 30,000 traditional cabs.
The authorities have been pressing very hard to reduce the pollution levels and improve air quality in the world’s most polluted capital. These efforts culminated with switching of many of Delhi’s taxis to greener Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Apparently, the court’s move reflects concerns about the pollution growing after a 2014 World Health Organisation survey of more than 1,600 cities ranked Delhi as the most polluted.
China has also been grappling with pollution and traffic congestion in its main cities. It is introducing the electric vehicles to beat the pollution. To encourage the new industry, the central government gives buyers subsidies of up to 55,000 yuan ($8,500) for each car. Moreover, the electric vehicles are exempt from traffic restrictions in China’s major congested cities.China is following the footsteps of Norway, which has the world’s highest penetration at 17 percent of new sales in 2015. But experts expects even a small chunk of Chinese sales — which totalled 24.6 million last year — could be a game-changer for electric cars.
In the West, the UK was jolted by a report of the Department for Transport, which shows diesel cars on the English roads on average emit more than six times the levels of air pollutants permitted in laboratory tests when driven in real-life conditions.
This scary report prompted the authorities to take more measures to curb pollution. The UK must strengthen the powers of cities to charge vehicles for using the roads in a bid to clean up dangerous levels of air pollution nationwide, a panel of lawmakers said. They also urged the government to introduce a diesel scrappageprogramme for the most polluting vehicles.
The quality of London’s air has become an electoral issue in the capital’s May 5 mayoral vote, with all candidates promising to crack down on pollutants.
By enacting more stringent laws and adapting to eco-friendly technologies, the world can move gradually and steadily to roll back the pollution that has increased the global warming.
And even as we talk about growing pollution levels, a professor in Oman has come up with a discovery that promises a breakthrough solution to the issue of carbon emissions. Subhi Nasr, Director of Earth Science Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos University, says that when the peridotite rock — made up mostly of silicate minerals olivine and pyroxene — reacts with carbon dioxide, it converts the gas into calcite, a solid mineral.The study makes us believe that nature may find a way to carry on. But that doesn’t give humans the licence to continue to act with impunity!