air pollution Current Affairs - 2020

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Peak Hour Pollution flattened due to COVID-19

In Indian big cities, the peak hour pollution in the morning and evening flattened due to the lock down. The lock down imposed in the country to contain the spread of COVID-19 has brought down particulate matter of sizes less than 2.5 microns greatly.

Highlights

The big metropolitans like Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad had evidential reduction of pollution level according to Centre for Science and Environment. The Centre says that the pollution levels in the peak hour has gone down by 60% in several cities.

Delhi

The Delhi Air Quality Index turned to Good from Hazardous. In Delhi, the PM 2.5 concentration levels dropped down by 57%, Nitrogen Dioxide levels dropped down by 64%. According to SAFAR, vehicles contribute to 40% of total particulate pollution in Delhi.

Data from CPCB

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, around 92 cities in the country have recorded pollution level of “Good” from “Satisfactory”.

Air Quality Index

The pollution levels are said to moderate when the AQI is between 100 and 200. It is satisfactory when the AQI is between 50 and 100. The pollution levels is categorized as Good when the AQI is between 0 and 50. The other categories are poor (201-300), very poor (301-400) and severe (401-500).

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Luxembourg: The First Country in the World to provide Free Public Transport

Luxembourg in Europe has become the first country to make all forms of public transport free. It is the second smallest country in the European Union.

Highlights

Around 0.2 million passengers travel to Luxembourg from its neighbouring countries such as Belgium, France and Germany for work. Also, it has the highest car density in European Union.

Why Free Public Transport?

According to European Commission Statistical Wing, Luxembourg had 670 cars per 1000 people. The capital of the country also called Luxembourg was the 53rd most congested city in the world according to 2020 Traffic Index. People in the city lost 163 useful hours to traffic. It will also help reduce pollution to great extent.

How does it work?

The project of making public transport free is a dual social measure in the country. It is funded by the tax payers. This will help low earners save money. Also, the burden is shouldered by the better off population.

The Government of Luxembourg is to compensate the loss of finances of the scheme by taxes. The Government earns 8% of the public transportation costs though ticket sales.

Similar Measures by Delhi Government

In October 2019, the State Government of Delhi announced similar scheme. The Government had made public transport free for women. Delhi being the 8th most congested city in the world, the scheme has boosted women population. However, it financial drained Delhi Transport Corporation.

Hurdles

Infrastructure of buses is the major concern. The Supreme Court in 2001 assessed that Delhi needs 10,000 buses. The predictions should increase by 2020. Currently, there are only 6,233 buses with the Delhi State Transport Corporation (according to February 2020).

Also, Delhi Metro is highly expensive for its high operational cost. More steps have to be taken to improvise Metro to make it less expensive for running.

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