A decade ago, the capitals of Asia’s two largest countries both had some of the dirtiest skies in the world. On the worst days, millions were enveloped in thick gray canopies of smog that darkened the sun and besieged the lungs.

Since then, one of those cities has made significant improvements. After the Chinese government declared a war against pollution in 2013, Beijing pressed ahead with a multiyear, $100 billion effort to clean its air. The authorities clamped down on factories, forced old vehicles off the road and shifted from coal to natural gas. While more still needs to be done, Beijing officials say the city now has over 100 more days of clear skies each year than when the campaign began.

But in the other city, New Delhi, the air this autumn has been as foul as ever. The onset of air pollution season brought weeks of haze to the city, prompting officials to briefly halt truck traffic, close schools and ask people to work from home. Those who still ventured out coughed into their masks and rubbed their eyes. The air felt bitter on the tongue.

Every year, the skies in the Delhi region turn acrid from pollution generated by millions of vehicles, the burning of stubble on surrounding farms and the use of open fires for heating and cooking in rural homes. And every year, residents are left to ask why nothing changes.

Continue reading at The New York Times…

Areas of Focus: Environment
Definition
Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
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Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...
Environmental Health
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Environmental Health
Energy and industrial processes introduce toxins into the environment. EPIC research is helping to educate policymakers and consumers on the social and economic costs of this pollution, and the potential...
AQLI
Definition
AQLI
Particulate air pollution is one of the most serious risks to human health globally. To help communicate those risks, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) converts particulate air pollution into...