This may not be a huge revelation for many, but it should be known that the two most populous countries in the world are also the two most polluted countries.
China and India have had their share of blame pointed at them for their uncontrolled pollution levels, but recent times prove even more dire. As their capital cities of Beijing and Mumbai are engulfed in extremely high levels of pollution, world leaders are looking for these two countries to comply with safety standards and cut pollution levels.
The latest press release from China says that it has met pollution reduction goals from its 5 year plan earlier than expected, while India has announced its plans to take special measures to bring down its own pollution level.
China Pollution Meets Goals, but Has a Long Way to Go
In 2010, due to unsafe levels of pollutants in the atmosphere, China set a five year target in cutting down the emissions of major pollutants.
Fast forward five years, more than 23 cities in northern China, including Beijing, were engulfed in choking smog for five days with China’s pollution levels 30 times that of the World Health Organization’s safe levels. Air pollution has become such a major problem that surveys have indicated that it is near the top of the list of issues that the Chinese population is most concerned about.
In recent weeks, the government even issued its third and second highest level pollution alerts. This translated into the temporary closing of thousands of factories, halting construction, and banning heavy trucks from roads.
There are many factors contributing to the worsening air conditions. While officials look to blame meteorological factors such as low winds, temperature inversion, and high humidity, citizens are concerned that the major contributors to China’s pollution is from car emissions and the many coal-fired furnaces run by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development.
However, in the midst of all this, the Chinese environment minister Chen Jining came forward and announced that there has been much progress in tackling their environment problems. He also acknowledged that there is still a lot to be done to substantially improve the damaged land, soil, and air.
India to Clean Up World’s Most Polluted City
On the other hand, India has had enough of its own pollution problems. The country declared that it will be taking special measures to tackle this issue.
This comes after the WHO announced that the capital city of India, New Delhi is the most polluted city in the world and that 12 out of 20 world’s most polluted cities are also in India.
New Delhi in fact experienced horrendous level of pollution with the air quality reported to be at a “hazardous” level in November and early December. Very fine particles causing fatal lung damage were found in excessive amounts, 12 times the WHO’s safe levels. Many doctors have reported a sharp increase in pollution-related illnesses and thus the government has decided to respond to this public health emergency.
The Indian government made announcements recently that it will be taking measures to fight the air pollution levels. The measures announced are as follows.
Effective January 1st 2016, to cut the car emissions by at least half, the government will only be allowing private cars to be driven on alternate days, depending on whether their license plates end in even or odd numbers.
To reduce traffic jams, trucks will only be allowed to enter the city after 11PM.
Plans to buy special vacuüm cleaning equipment to clean the roads and reduce the amount of dusts that is present in the air are also in place.
New Delhians will also see the Badarpur plant, one of its oldest and least efficient thermal power plants being shut down.
With these measures, India hopes to cut its pollution levels and not to be infamous for having the world’s most polluted city.