India stumped in efforts to clear toxic smog as cricketers throw up

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – India’s state-run NTPC is launching bids for clean technology for two coal-fired power plants near New Delhi, officials said, as criticism mounts over the country’s failure to end a toxic smog which strikes the capital every winter.

But environment activists said the measures were too little and too late.

Illegal crop burning in farm states surrounding New Delhi, vehicle exhaust in a city with limited public transport, industrial emissions and swirling construction dust have caused the crisis, sparking a public health crisis.

On Tuesday, two cricketers threw up on the field during an India-Sri Lanka Test match as a toxic haze blanketed the stadium and Sri Lanka, whose players wore masks, said it had complained to the International Cricket Council.

There was also concern about an Indian Super League soccer game last night where players might have had to wear masks, one of the team coaches said.

A task force headed by a top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is driving a set of measures aimed at reducing pollution by next winter, a government source involved in the efforts said.

Besides the $215 million plan to clean up sulphur emissions from the Dadri and Jhajjar power plants, the task force has ordered the opening up of an expressway skirting the capital that will ensure trucks don’t have to transit the city.

Vehicle emissions account for 30 percent of Delhi’s pollutants topped by PM 2.5, or tiny particles that lodge deep in the lungs causing respiratory and other diseases. More than 50,000 lorries pour into the city each night.

The government is also considering a plan to give farmers subsidies to buy machines that clear crop waste so that they don’t have to burn the stubble.

“The prime minister has directed that air quality should improve by next winter so that we are not in this crisis situation again,” the government source said. “Eventually the plan is to improve to the level of cities in the developed world.”

Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner Greenpeace India, said coal-based power plants – most of which are state-owned – had been given two years to control emissions by this month, but nothing had happened. “The bigger hindrance to clean up the air in India is lack of political will,” he said. The 135-km eastern expressway which the government is hoping will free up traffic was meant be completed in April, then moved to August and is now planned for completion by late next year.

On Wednesday, the air quality reading for an area in the vicinity of the stadium where the football game will be played had risen to 204 by noon, way above the safe limit of 50, according to a US embassy measurement.

Steve Coppell, a former Manchester United player who is coaching the Jamshedpur FC team in the game against Delhi Dynamos, said that matches should not be held in Delhi at this time of the year. “It’s not for sportsmen to say, it is a decision the health officials will have to make. If you ask me, if I want to play in these conditions, I would say ‘I don’t think so’.”a

Comments  

Bramble’s maiden ton lights up night sky

A maiden unbeaten century from Guyana Jaguars’ wicket keeper batsman Anthony Bramble, placed the hosts in a position of comfort at stumps last evening, the first day of their seventh-round encounter against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence  Jaguars end the night on 276 – 8  The day/night encounter began with the hosts winning the toss and electing to bat.

Three TKOs for Guyana on opening night

Keevin Allicock, Colin Lewis and Joel Williamson all chalked up wins on Wednesday in exciting fashion at the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament currently underway in St Lucia.

Silver Shattas crush Topp XX 3-1, Blueberry Hill upset Amelia’s Ward 1-0

Defending champion Silver Shattas crushed Topp XX by a 3-1 scoreline, when the 5th Annual Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA)/GT Beer Football Champion-ship continued on Wednesday.

Emmanuel Stewart, first Windward Islander to lead the West Indies at U/19 Level

By Statistician Charwayne Walker Grenadian Emmanuel Stewart, who led the West Indies Under-19 team earlier this year to South Africa and Zimbabwe, created history by becoming the first player from the Windward Islands to captain the West Indies at this level.

Contrasting wins for Fernandes and Islam

Taylor Fernandes and Daniel Islam secured contrasting wins in the Category-A section, when the Farfan and Mendes Junior Skill Level Squash Championship, continued on Wednesday.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×