As per the recent reports by WHO, India is one of the most polluted countries in the world. 11 out of top 15 & 7 out of the top 10 most polluted cities in the world are from India. This means that India’s increasing population has resulted in increased pollution, but authorities fail to understand the need of fighting the situation. There are many countries around the world which have overcome the issue of being the most air-polluted cities/places in the world. Don’t you think, we should learn it from the experts?
Here are the top 5 countries and a description of how these countries fought Air Pollution and cured it.
1. South California
The state of South California used to be one of the most polluted cities during the 1990s. However, over the years, authorities have targeted to reduce the rising levels of pollution in the city. As a result, various policies and programs were put in place. Adoption of eco-friendly activities including electric cars, ship at-port electrification, cleaner fuel for trucks, ships and trains and mandatory installation of newer and cleaner engines were made mandatory.
Even with the rapid 38% increase in traffic, 30% increase in population and 160% increase in port activity from the year 1994 to 2011, the state was able to bring a drastic reduction in pollution levels. They have been able to reduce NOx by 54%, reactive organic gases by 65%, SOx by 40% thus reducing PM 2.5 & PM 10 levels by 21% & 15% respectively.
China is the most populated and one of the most polluted countries in the world. However, it is wise to know that the government was smart enough to foresee the consequences of degrading air quality. As a result, the country reduced the production of steel and coal-fired electricity. In March 2017, the Chinese government announced the shutting down of 103 coal-fired power plants, which generated a total of more than 50 gigawatts of power. It said it would also cut steel production capacity by another 50 million tons.
They started investing heavily in wind and solar power production. Further, the cities worked on eco-friendly domestic activities by giving up coal stoves and furnaces at home.
China-focused on lowering vehicular emissions, and thus they started acquiring and using higher-quality gasoline and diesel for vehicle and transportation. Also, engines were improved to match standards equivalent to European and American ones & will be in effect 100% by 2020.
Apart from this, to motivate the citizens to participate in the mission, the country worked on making air quality data public through monitoring stations. Thus, allowing anyone with a smart-phone to detect air-quality and report violations.
3. Seoul, South Korea,
The capital city of South Korea is a hub for many business houses, industries, major fashion brands and houses almost all celebrities. The city’s habitation has escalated the pollution over the years. To fight the growing problem of Air pollution, Seoul started LPG engine retrofit program in 2003. The program was piloted initially with 135 cleaning trucks of 2.5-ton capacity each to pursue lower emissions from diesel vehicles.
After the successful implementation, it was expanded to cover city buses and business vehicles in 2005. Apart from the LPG engine retrofit program, the government installed DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) and DOC (Diesel Oxidation Catalyst) devices in the vehicles. They started terminating vehicle registration for vehicles failing to meet the emissions requirements.
The city has been further aiming to eradicate diesel-run cars from the streets. In this direction, Seoul has encouraged the use of electric cars as a fundamental solution to air pollution by distributing “green cars’ run since 2009 and fostered on building charging stations to test-run for wider use of electric cars.
Seoul is a leader in “green” car projects which started with electric bicycles, low-speed/retrofitted/high-speed electric cars, electric buses, hydrogen-powered cars, and online electric car, etc.
Singapore has adopted setting strict standards on vehicular emissions and have revised it from Euro IV to the Euro V standard on 1 January 2014 for diesel and also replaced older petrol standards with EURO IV. Apart from this, demotion of high emission vehicles has been enforced with the imposition of heavy fines for smoky vehicles. The National Environment Agency closely monitors air pollution control in Singapore through fourteen air monitoring stations, sensors installed in the chimneys of factories, and video cameras trained on smokestacks in industrial parks.
The laws relating to air quality in the country are so strict that authorities are continuously eyeing to detect breaches in maintaining air quality and respond immediately by enforcing non-compliance charges against culprits.
5. Mexico City
The city of Mexico, after being declared as the most polluted city on the planet, in 1992, decided to curb the problem. Since then, authorities have been working on improvements. It replaced the city’s soot-belching old cars with better ones, removed lead from gasoline to make its emission less dangerous, embraced natural gas to reduce residue generation from vehicles & other activities, expanded public transportation, and relocated refineries and factories to safer places.
As a result, the presence of lead has reduced by 90 per cent in the air since 1990. Also, the presence of suspended particles has been reduced by 70%. Carbon Mono Oxides and other pollutants have been drastically reduced as well. This has helped in reducing lungs, asthma, emphysema or cancer by a great level.
We understand that fighting this problem is not a single day task, but one day we need to start acting. Further, instead of wasting time on certain new methods, we should learn & get inspirations from other countries about how to fight the problem.