Civil hospital to monitor air quality for 10 days

Air monitoring is no rocket science, but we make it seem so.
An interesting story of how the Indian pollution control authorities find it difficult to monitor air quality.  When an instrument is put up on a hospital becomes important news, you know something is wrong with the monitoring ecosystem! Putting up pollution measurement instruments is not so costly and there are many options available, if the authorities were to reduce the required specifications by a little bit, many of these cheaper options become feasible.


Gurugram's second air monitor delayed by red tape

It’s not just about the money!
A tender was floated for a monitoring instrument in March of 2017, and 9 months later there is still little progress on it. Why? This is a standard Indian story, a combination of ineptitude and irresponsibility. In any other situation, those in charge would have been made answerable. But the incompetence runs so deep and wide that without some external intervention, most key actions take much longer than they needed to.


EarthSense Air Pollution Sensors Evidence Clean Air Initiatives

The power of community action.
An air monitoring instrumentation company decided to coordinate with the community, and what resulted was a large reduction in pollution. Pollution monitoring, in real time, and with a local orientation, can get everyone charged up. A community decided to reduce its polluting activities and what resulted was a cleaner, clearer day. It is time now for Indian pollution control boards to become answerable to local communities.


Engaging the public to improve environmental compliance

Use the public to monitor compliance.
Too much reliance on government entities for monitoring is not only costly and inefficient, it also does not achieve the task at hand. An innovative thought is to build mechanisms where monitoring is done by the public and this is integrated with the official system.


The Pollution Watchdog

Monitoring the public sector.
The Indian commercial public sector’s pollution creation record has been stellar. Yet a large number of regulators hail from these same enterprises that pollute. And the pollution control boards are no better. How should one break this cartel of public sector managers, technocrats, and bureaucrats? Simple, give the pollution monitoring function to civil society including research institutions. And one technology that allows pollution monitoring remotely is open path spectroscopy. (An article by this author published in Business Standard.)

Government Actions this week


Ladakh Floods: A Timeline of Disaster - The Wire

Extreme environmental events and local economies.
Climate change has occurred and the patterns have varied, but either slowly or rapidly a tipping point is reached, after which massive ecological damage occurs. Many species go extinct, but those lucky enough to change with the changed environment manage to survive and prosper. What conclusions should humanity draw? Climate change is happening and will change local and global weather patterns. Will large globally centralized economies be able to change rapidly enough?


A dysfunctional enmeshment

Competition tends to be among the better disciplining forces, as they also encourage and reward change. But when incumbents of various types are integrated into a non-competitive environment they create a massive force intent on conserving status quo. How can innovation occur in such an environment? A well thought through analysis of Indian coal and power sectors.

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