This may not be a huge revelation for many, but the two most populous countries in the world are also the most polluted ones.
India and China have long suffered from uncontrolled pollution levels despite their rapid growth. But recent times are even more dire.
Beijing and Mumbai now have dangerous levels of pollution, putting everyone who lives in these two capital cities at risk. World leaders are now pressuring China and India to comply with safety standards and cut pollution levels.
The latest press release from China says it met pollution goals from its 5 year plan earlier than expected. Meanwhile, India announced special measures to bring down its own pollution level.
China Pollution Meets Goals, but Has a Long Way to Go
Back in 2010, China set a five year target for cutting down emissions of major pollutants.
Fast forward five years, over 23 cities in northern China were engulfed in smog for five days. Pollution levels were 30 times the World Health Organization’s safe levels.
China pollution is such a problem that surveys rank it near the top of the list of issues citizens are most concerned about.
Bejing recently even issued their third and second highest level pollution alerts. This meant thousands of factories temporarily closing, halting construction, and banning heavy trucks from roads.
Many factors contribute to worsening air conditions. Officials blame meteorological factors such as low winds, temperature inversion, and high humidity.
But citizens are concerned the major contributor to China pollution is car emissions. The many coal-fired furnaces run by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development probably don’t help either.
However, in the midst of all this, Environment Minister Chen Jining came forward. He announced there was much progress in tackling China’s environmental problems. He also acknowledged there is still lots of work remaining to improve damaged land, soil, and air.
India to Clean Up World’s Most Polluted City
India, on the other hand, has had enough of their own pollution problems. The country declared that it will take special measures to tackle environmental issues.
This comes after the WHO announced India’s capital of New Delhi as the most polluted city in the world. Furthermore, 12 out of 20 world’s most polluted cities are in India.
New Delhi experienced horrendous levels of pollution with the air quality reported to be at a “hazardous”. Very fine particles causing fatal lung damage were found in excessive amounts – 12 times the WHO’s safe levels.
Doctors report a sharp increase in pollution-related illnesses. Because of this, the government is responding to this public health emergency.
Effective January 1st 2016, to cut the car emissions by half, the government only allows people in New Dehli to drive cars on alternate days. This will depend on whether their license plates end in even or odd numbers.
Trucks can only enter the city after 11PM which prevents traffic jams. Also, the city will buy special vacuum equipment to clean roads and reduce dust in the air.
New Delhians will see the Badarpur plant shut down too. It’s one of India’s oldest and least efficient coal plants.
India hopes to cut its pollution levels with these measures. They might clear their reputation for having the world’s most polluted cities.
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