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Uncertainty over Bharat Stage 3 vehicles

The biggest news of the month, apart from the UP elections, is that the Supreme Court is going to soon mull over what to do about the almost million vehicles lying unsold, that do not meet the BS IV norms. I would think the answer is obvious, while there is too much incomes and wealth locked up in these vehicles, the wealth is pollution creating. This is to me the Solomon’s solution - Let the auto companies sell their vehicles for another year, but prepone BS VI introduction by a year. The Supreme Court would be giving an important signal to the auto lobbies and a way forward to the government.



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Mahindra finally makes its way into the electric segment

Mahindra moves slowly, after many years of maintaining its small presence in electrical vehicles, it is now finally announced an expansion of its offerings in premium electric personal vehicles segments – Rs 8-10 lakh range. Hope many would follow suit in lower segments. I wonder whether they will ask for some tax relief? And how can the government do that under the GST regime?



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China To Cut Steel, Coal Capacity In Bid to Tackle Pollution

China is now unambiguously moving towards a low pollution economy and has announced cutbacks in steel and coal production. No doubt this is also in sync with the fact that there already is too much infrastructure for an economy that is slowing down a bit. China’s focus is steadily turning towards the lesser polluting service sector. This is sensible policy – a structural shift that both improves economic and environmental outcomes.



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London's Toxic Smog Triggers Business Action

England has a similar problem as India’s, its national politics is focusing on other issues, but health impact of pollution is too much to ignore. In London, both the city government and businesses are coming together to do their bit. This includes monitoring stations in high density zones, public display of pollutant information, cooperative actions by businesses, and yet greater allocations by local governments.



Government Actions this week


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Thiruvananthapuram will soon be a plastic-free zone

A well-meaning bureaucrat-politician combine has declared Trivandrum a plastic free zone. Businesses are being forced to follow, and some will. But in an ocean of plastic that urban India is swimming in, can Trivandrum be an island for long. Scores of well-meaning district and municipal commissioners have tried it in many different parts of India, but the system reverts when the bureaucrat gets transferred. At the same time, one must laud those who are trying.



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CPCB issues draft guidelines to manage construction and demolition waste

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recently come out with draft guidelines to manage construction and demolition waste (C&D). I do not understand this, don’t such guidelines already exist in the municipal laws? Anyhow, now that the CPCB has published its draft, its time for citizens to participate in its finalization.



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Mumbai traffic junctions to get more air purifiers

Mumbai meanwhile loves large air purifiers – many traffic junctions are to get air purifiers. I hope other cities do not follow suit. Air purifiers are as ineffective to India’s problem as road vacuuming would be. But both are easy to do, perhaps in their eagerness to prove to the public, local and state-level politicians are doing what is easiest for them, even if ineffective.



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Panchayats around Hyderabad issued notices for garbage burning

Garbage burning is common across India, but typically governments across India have closed their eyes to it. Finally the government in Hyderabad took the politically difficult decision by giving notices to Panchayats in the vicinity of Hyderabad to stop unsegregated garbage burning. Wish someone in Delhi did the same!



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Jaipur smart mission to install air quality monitors

Jaipur meanwhile is taking a longer term approach. The first step is to monitor and share with the common citizenry. A large number of monitoring stations across the city and public display will help create a common minimum consensus in Rajasthan. Perhaps that would work better than other more direct measures.



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IIT-Roorkee roped in to help curb pollution in Ghaziabad

Ghaziabad meanwhile is trying a different route. It has tied up with IIT-Roorkee to help it tackle its pollution problem. This is good, as the IIT will provide with specific information on major and minor causes. But of course, in the end it is implementation that matters most.


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