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The #DelhiAirEmergency has brought #AirQualityIndex and #DelhiPollution infamy.

This thread enumerates problems, approaches and solutions for Delhi based on experiences with state, market and society.

RT, reply or email at roshans[at]alumni[dot]stanford[dot]edu to collaborate!
The Keeling curve has steadily crossed 450 and unprecedented urbanization increasingly looks like the future of humanity will live in cities. The sustainability of natural resources of water, air, land and energy will be critical to our survival.
In India, the nation has power, states have money and cities/villages have the problems. This mismatch must be corrected by effective interventions in honest politics, effective governments, market, academia and civil society. Problems must be met with resources and intent.
In India, more than two thirds of the population suffers from severe deprivations of one or the other kind: poverty, lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, unemployment or inadequate shelter. This period has witnessed multi-dimensional degradation of our natural environment.
Decline of natural ecosystems, erosion of wild and agricultural biodiversity, pollution of well over half the available water bodies, degradation of two-thirds of the land and unacceptable rise in levels of air pollution in cities. The problem is fundamental and in the model.
The issue of sustainability and climate change has two further handicaps. Science and technology, business and studies of the human condition have found their application in isolated growth silos predominantly within the market. Their application to public problems is limited.
The individual’s citizenship and the collective’s stewardship to deploy solutions with context and speed has reduced. Environmental expertise doesn’t have the same credibility or competence as the hands that transformed the Age of the Internet, Computer, Space or Nuclear Race.
India followed a path initially of state control, reliance on public sector, import substitution strategies and insulation from international market. This path helped lay economic foundations for a young country but failed to deliver growth, self-sufficiency or remove poverty.
The second path, of ‘economic reforms’, involved opening the economy to international markets, internal deregulation, disinvestment in the public sector and growing emphasis on services. Centralization and moral/fiscal corruption led to greater inequality and less well-being.
Delhi has suffered similarly with unsustainable urbanization, lack of democratic accountability and paucity of high-quality science/engineering academics, practitioners and technocrats to shepherd scalable change. Agency multiplicity in politics and policy increases complexity.
Things haven’t gotten better in 20 years in solving the problem even as we understand the problem in deeper granularity with greater nuance every year. Innovations in academia and market, societal transformation and activism, have shown us projects, not programs.
Sisyphean efforts at activism or solutionism haven’t been combined with technology for good or administrative programs at scale.This failure has monuments in the form of Delhi’s toxic air quality, black River Yamuna and three mountains of garbage in Bhalaswa, Okhla and Ghazipur.
An alternate development model is needed that draws from values such as decentralised governance, transparency, sustainability, accountability, and equity. It will provide equitable access to preservation of nature and natural resources while protecting ecology and biodiversity.
It shall facilitate robust economic growth and holistic well-being by ensuring equitable access to basic needs of life and opportunities for livelihood. It shall create decent employment and livelihood opportunities across agricultural, manufacturing, or services sector.
It seeks to afford greater opportunities for lifelong learning to encourage individual and national growth. It shall encourage honest enterprise through corruption-free environment, provision of efficient and reliable infrastructure and services, and incentives for innovation.
This vision will reinvigorate two fundamental duties of Indian citizens that have disappeared from public sentiment. One that implores common citizens to protect and improve the natural environment, forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion of living creatures.
Second is the development of a scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform. These must be reinforced, reminded and reinstated in full glory from the state of decrepit and silos of gnorance that they currently find themselves in. Long but useful context IMO.
Back to specifics, back to Delhi.

The cure for Delhi's air pollution will involve the people of Delhi, MCDs, NDMC, DCB, Delhi Government, Government of India, DDA, DUAC and RERA.

The solution for Delhi's air pollution will involve state, market, society, academia and media.
The planning for Delhi's air pollution will require the governments of India, Punjab, Haryana, UP and NCR districts to come together through innnovative governance arrangements that regulate outcomes and processes for CO2 emission reduction goals and programs towards the same.
The canvas of air pollution battle:

a.Courts (Lower courts, consumer courts, High Court, Supreme Court, NGT)
b.Executive (planning agencies, government departments, scientific and technical orgs, thinktanks, data cos)
c.Parliament/Legislature (Action, support and advocacy)
Air solutions will be set in the canvas above in politics and policy and set in accelerated motion by funders, implementers, youth and volunteer organizations and governance/policy/outcome focused orgs. Media and social media will be critical for ideas to spread with context.
Here's a list of stakeholders and contributors I've interacted or discussed air quality from different lenses. Who else needs to be brought together? Any suggestions? #DelhiBachao #DelhiPollution #DelhiAirEmergency
Three ideas seem pertinent for air pollution amelioration, abatement and prevention to spread amongst citizens. First, to measure, visualize and communicate air pollution metrics with granularity and scale. Collect, structure, analyse, decide, monitor, evaluate, rinse, repeat.
Second, pursue air quality for public health as a theme with monitoring and abatement as key action and impact areas to improve city emissions and citizen healthcare outcomes. This can be implemented through programs, practices, policies and projects with agencies and departments
Third, create a pollution impact fund with seed money from the state and contributions from markets and indivuduals for project and viability gap funding for programs that are local, differentiated by district and corporation and implemented with NGOs and univs/tech schools.
An institution with the following ten themes and terms of reference could support these three ideas gain traction by filling the missing links in implementation and strategic viability gap funding.
The twelve areas of focus, on process and practice, for organizations and individuals for the 10 themes of projects and policies above. Both these sets of recommendations are unique to Delhi.
Given this context, despite numerous inefficiencies of Delhi's misaligned governance structure and the nature of Indian politics, Delhi Government from 2015-2019 has promised, worked and delivered sustainability, decentralization, anti-corruption, freedom, and prosperity.
It has already notified water policy, solar policy, JJ cluster and slum rehabilitation as well as municipal solid waste management policies that are sustainable, progressive and green. It will soon notify the Electric Vehicle policy too.
Delhi already implements the Graded Response Action Plan (including the road rationing scheme called Odd-Even) when air pollution peaks in winter, in collaboration with the Central Pollution Control Board and under the supervision of National Green Tribunal.
Delhi will push for the constitution of the Metropolitan Planning Committee and attempt to operationalize the NCR planning board, both of which would help solve Delhi’s problems in a larger context. The DPCC and revenue department officers will penalize acts of pollution.
This will especially be enforced commercial, construction, industrial and institutional areas. The government will conduct local enforcement by allocating 552 environment marshals across Delhi and awareness campaigns with RWAs. Most importantly, no program will be unfunded.
Delhi will strike MoUs with organizations, think-tanks and universities working on sustainability, resilience and public health. Several research centers on health, mobility, urban development, energy, and environment have and will be opened in Delhi state universities.
Organizations will go through employability and skill re-training based on the future of the respective industries, especially in state-run companies.

These policies, programs, practices and projects will be integrated within line departments and agencies within Delhi.
The GNCTD commits to the pollution-reducing actions, with the goal of not just reaching but exceeding the National targets for reduction in particulate matter by 2025. Reduction in open biomass burning through LPG penetration with a ban will drive health and carbon co-benefits.
Stricter enforcement of standards in Industries through continuous monitoring along with a 100% switch from solid fuels to gaseous fuels will aid emission reduction goals. Cheap, clean and 24*7 electricity have killed and hopefully buried the diesel generator sets!
GNCTD will pursue air quality for public health as a theme with sustainability, monitoring and abatement as key action areas to improve city emissions and citizen healthcare outcomes. Some of the strategies outlined in the Green Budget have also been incorporated in Delhi's SAPCC
Once an updated Source Apportionment study is completed and a GHG inventory is in place, data will be used to formulate a Climate Action Plan involving strategies and projects which also address particulate matter emissions.
Delhi has the most robust city-level air quality monitoring infrastructure in India, and among the best in Asia. GNCTD will build an open disaggregated stack of air quality monitoring and evaluation that will combine efforts of state, market, civil society and academia.
This will include:

1. Hyper local monitoring of a select area in the city, based on the London hyperlocal monitoring model, from the EC Fund by 2020 and implement the initiative by 2024 with DPCC and IIIT Delhi.
2. Student programs on low-quality AAQMS and run challenges and competitions in the research, analysis and communication of air quality data, and also, develop a pollution forecasting model for the city and its decision makers.
3. Start a real-time open data initiative around air quality at IIIT Delhi with DPCC in Environment, EEREM Cell in Power and DTC in Transport, coordinated by UD Department.
The City is working with C40 to estimate the benefits of Air Quality actions, collect relevant health and air quality data, and identify the air pollution mitigation actions that needs to be further researched. Further, the city has collaborations and linkages with entities like:
CSIR: CRRI, Lungcare Foundation, EPOD Harvard, EPIC UChicago Center, IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, CSTEP, CSE, Chintan, C40, WRI and Shakti Foundation in Delhi, all of which work on public health or air quality or issues of science, technology, sustainability, governance and policy.
The Chief Minister of Delhi has recently announced an air pollution mitigation plan as a means to involve the citizens of Delhi as change agents in the fight against pollution and to prepare the city for the upcoming winter season. They include:
Odd Even, the road rationing scheme, that is currently being implemented across the city. Past implementation of odd-even policy in winter months have brought down particulate emissions by 14-16% as per a study by Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.
The 3 MCDs, NDMC, DCB and DUSIB identified open spots for Diwali cracker burning. The government itself discouraged by creating the aesthetic alternative of the community Diwali laser show and music festival! This brought down residential pollution tremendously!
In order to control dust on roads, the frequency and area of water sprinkling has been increased. Road sweeping and washing will be conducted by MCDs, PWD and DJB. Special plans are being devised to deal with identified pollution hotspots in the city.
GNCTD will launch ‘Delhi Tree Challenge’ which encourages individuals to plant saplings in and around their houses. The government plans to home deliver the sapling free of charge to the homes of the residents who intend to participate in the challenge.
Building GHG inventory with C40, implementing and following up on the air pollution forecasting model with World Bank and University of Washington on Real-Time Source Apportionment Study and several international and national academic collaborations on air quality lie ahead.
All this and more constitute the Air Quality Declaration signed by CM @ArvindKejriwal at the @c40cities summit in Copenhagen. One of the world's most comprehensive and participatory plans. The declaration and its contents are attached here.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities The GNCTD will take up the implementation of the following ambitious programmes under seven main departments to address the top causes of air pollution, before 2025. These are Transport, Power, Environment, Urban Development, Public Works, DJB and Irrigation and Flood Control.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Large scale transformation of the public bus system to increase capacity and zero-emission mobility is underway. Other initiatives include implementation of scientific route rationalization of buses, installation of CCTVs and panic buttons in buses, and bus marshal allocation.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities GNCTD has released a progressive draft Electric Vehicle policy. The policy focuses on large scale transition of vehicles in shared/public transport with an aim that Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) constitute 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2024.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Complete electrification of Delhi’s bus fleet is planned over two phases. Phase I will include rolling out 1000 fully electric buses (around 20% of the total bus fleet) by 2020 supported by the induction of 905 additional electric feeder vehicles by Delhi Metro.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Phase II will build on the experiences of Phase I and will aim at 100% transition to 11,000 electric buses in Delhi by 2030. Strong incentives, programs and academic collaborations to improve and strengthen Pollution Under Control (PUC) programme in Delhi.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Provision of generation based incentives, streamlining of tripartite agreements and payments by the Delhi Government have bolstered solar installation, with total capacity now at 133 MW. GNM and VNM to promote installations of solar panels on all buildings in Delhi notified.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Agrisolar and floating solar projects are under process of consideration and design at Rajghat Power Plant and other lakes/water bodies in the city. All streetlights to be replaced with efficient LEDs; building code to integrate photovoltaics and innovations in energy efficiency.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Provision of subsidy of ₹5,000 per tandoor to restaurants to replace coal-based tandoors with electricity or gas-based tandoors as well as subsidy to various firms and establishments of up to ₹30,000 to switch over from Diesel Generator Sets to Clean Generator Sets.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Challans or fines by department officers and revenue enforcement for violators of construction debris, biomedical and municipal solid waste as well as fire-cracker/waste burning.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Installation of air pollution abatement devices at traffic intersections with urban heat island effect as well as technical assistance to crematoriums and gaushalas to become green.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Development of city forests to create green areas with 6 city forests already created increasing Delhi’s green cover from 20.2% to 20.6%.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities GNCTD will provide a dedicated information system showing current levels of pollution by installing 1000 indoor display panels inside all government buildings that are dealing with the public. Large scale distribution of N95 masks also planned, with school phase having begun.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Creation of 259 water bodies, 7 lakes and hundreds of decentralized sewage treatment plants to clean River Yamuna and the drains leading into it leading to a positive impact on dust and recirculated pollution within the city.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Edge-to-edge paving/ greening and beautification of all roads falling under the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department. This will be accompanied with a push for transit-oriented development, construction of green roads and improving walking/cyclability.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Vacuum sweeping of roads 4 times a month, mechanical road washing once a month, landscaping of major arterial roads and conversion of road dividers into bio-filters along with wall to wall paving of roads.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities GNCTD through honest governance and tax administration has raised its budget from 4.6 to 8.7 billion dollars. This creates the corpus for sustainable development. It has created two specific funds based on the “polluter pays principle” to improve air quality for public health.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) is levied on all commercial vehicles entering NCT and the corpus of the fund stands at INR 1100 crores currently.
Air Ambience Fund: A fixed amount is levied on every litre of diesel sold in Delhi, with an annual collection of INR 40 crores.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities I've covered how we got into this air quality problem, why it has been difficult to get out of it, Delhi Government's initiatives and plans on air quality and our climate action plan.

Next: Comments on data, presentations made to NGT and Delhi agencies and visuals of projects!
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities These comments on data are relevant because they form the bedrock of the problem's formulation and approach for solution by GNCTD.

The context on projects and programs is necessary since they have been communicated and pleaded repeatedly to DDA and MCD to little movement.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities The latest source apportionment study has been published in August 2018 for April 2016 to February 2017. It was conducted by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

The latest GHG Inventory available is for 2014-15.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities The tCO2e emission load in the city was estimated to be 37.91 million tonnes for the year 2014. The top four contributors to tCO2e emission are Power plants (43%), Vehicles (32%), MSW burning (8%) and domestic cooking (7%); these are based on annual emissions.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Seasonal and daily emissions could be variable. MSW burning is more frequent in winter than in summer. The estimated emission suggests that there are many important sources and a composite emission abatement including most sources will be required to reduce the GHG emission.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities CH4 emission in the city is estimated to be 37,078 tonne/yr. The top three contributors to CH4 emissions are livestock (61%), vehicles (18 %), and landfills (9%); these are based on annual emissions. Seasonal and daily emissions could be variable.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities N2O emissions are lower than CH4 emission ~ 7794 t/d. nearly 92% of emissions are attributed to vehicular emissions. Power plants contribute 3% to N2O emission and are followed by domestic emission (0.5%).

Here are two graphs that summarize this pollutant load by sector/source.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Here are the specifications, data frequency and typology of Delhi's air pollution sensors. This is for PM2.5, PM10, O3, NO2 and SO2.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities On many occasions, we have used slides from academic papers and research studies to set common ground. And sometimes that means going to the basics.

What are the sources of pollution?

What does it look like?

What is the aerial chemistry?

Some context here.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities The IIT Kanpur Study of 2016. Which was quite a bit in vogue and discussion in most circles.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Some comments on NOx and PM10.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities On the ineffectiveness of CNG.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities On firecrackers and why burning them in residential areas is particularly stupid.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities On Punjab and Haryana stubble burning, water law changes, delayed burning and wind patterns.

@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities On Happy Seeders for Punjab and Haryana: Technology, policy and finances.

@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Cycling and walking paths, EV buses, road green scaping, congestion pricing, illegal parking crackdown, bus route rationalization, bus terminal redesign, encroachment removal are multi-stakeholder initiatives on sustainable land use.

Status Report:

MCD :(
DDA :/
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Switch to LPG, clean tandoor deployment, e-rickshaw subsidy, brick kilns + thermal plant shutdown on periphery, night cleaning of markets, mandatory in-house composting for institutions, tree plantation drives, car-free days and odd-even are the nudges for a greener tomorrow.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Numerous engineering interventions will also be needed for a city that suffers from temperature inversion in the winter, urban heat islands that recirculate air in summers esp in dense areas and poor farmers/rich builders whose actions morph green cover in urban agglomerations.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities To tackle crop burning.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Another idea is to maximize utilization of construction and demolition waste products, engage QCI or BIS to set standards for end-product quality with terms and guidelines on non-structural applications. Also, utilize the Burari and Shastri Park C&D waste center to capacity.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Industry-specific measures for some of the industrial areas in the city like Wazirpur and Patpargunj along with a broader plan for industries in the National Capital Region is the need of the hour. Also, continuous M&E at firm/industry level of EP, Air and Water Act.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Usage of WTP sludge for fire and odour control.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Bioventing at landfills can reduce toxic emissions and spontaneous garbage fires, both of which are corrosive to public health.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Our deaths can be green too. If designed better. NEERI has submitted a report on the same as well.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Air pollution abatement solution from IIT Bombay for busy traffic intersections in densely populated areas and major arterial roads of Delhi.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Induced draft creation. Could be interesting to pilot.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Road washing using treated water from STPs. Two birds with one stone :)
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Conversion of road dividers into bio-filters through design intervention will help deploy green solutions for people on the move in the city and provide respite in the summers from the heat too.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities The usage of photocatalytic paint could help with Nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds. Don't forget them in the chaos around PM2.5, PM10 and CO2!
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Solar powered blowers, aerated lagoons, mist fountains, biofilter green walls are four more innovative engineering ideas that are a good fit for Delhi's topography and city infrastructure.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Two critical enforcement measures other than waste or biomass burning are to ensure overloaded vehicles don't enter Delhi, vehicles that don't need to pass through Delhi take the peripheral expressways and city construction material dumping norms are enforced.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities If you respect cows, you should treat their waste properly too so that it doesn't choke sewage networks or add height to the landfill mountains of the city! Here's one idea though it's more of a fix than a solution.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Elevated cycle tracks, speedy corridors across the expanse of the city, improved and zero-emission metro feeder service and full capacity utilization of buses and metro can drastically reduce mobility-related emissions.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities Through PWD and Irrigation and Flood Control and Delhi Jal Board, these two city-scale programs could help reduce the odours that compose our pollution. Decoupling cross-source and cross-compound pollution is pertinent.
@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities An article from 2017 where @ankit_delhii and I wrote about Delhi's air pollution and what it would take to make things better.

@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities @ankit_delhii A list of pending orders by the National Green Tribunal on air quality which deserves monitoring and enforcement. This list must be longer now :)

@ArvindKejriwal @c40cities @ankit_delhii That's all I have to say about air pollution in Delhi. Happy to say more on any bit.

A parting thought: Israel jiujitsu-ed the water crisis. Can India do that with toxic air, polluted land, and dirty water?

Let's ReNew Delhi. Let's UnPollute.

Write to me to work together :)
Do help however you can folks :) Available to chat anytime!
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