Thursday, February 18, 2016



Air is a precious resource that most of us take for granted. Clean air is essential to maintaining the delicate balance of life on this planet — not just for humans, but wildlife, vegetation, water and soil. Air supplies us with oxygen, which is essential for our bodies to live. Pure air is a mixture of several gases that are invisible and odorless. It consists of about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and less than 1% of argon, carbon dioxide, and other gases — as well as varying amounts of water vapor.

The term “Air Quality” means the state of the air around us. Good air quality refers to clean, clear, unpolluted air. Poor air quality is a result of a number of factors, including emissions from various sources, both natural and “man-made.” Poor air quality occurs when pollutants reach very high levels of concentrations that endanger human health and the environment. Air quality is degraded when unwanted chemicals or other materials are released into the air in large amounts that are harmful for the health of people, plants, animals, and our environment. The quality of the air depends on the amount of pollutants, the rate at which they are released from various sources, and how quickly the pollutants disperse in the surrounding area. Air pollution can affect indoor air quality, as well. Indoor air pollutants include cigarette smoke, mould, dust mites, pet dander, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and radon gas.

According to a WHO survey of 1600 world cities, the air quality of Delhi along with Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Raipur in Chhattisgarh is the worst of any major city in the world. The world's average PM10 levels, for the period 2008 and 2013, based on data of 1600 cities in 91 countries, range from 26 to 208 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), with the world average being 71 μg/m3. 13 of the 25 cities worldwide with the highest levels of PM are in India. In 2010, the year of the WHO survey, the average PM10 level in Delhi was 286. In 2013, the PM2.5 level was 153. These levels are considered very unhealthy. In Gwalior, the city with the worst air quality in India, the PM10, and PM2.5 levels were 329 and 144 respectively. The PM levels in Delhi have become worse since the WHO survey. In December–January 2015, in Delhi, an average PM2.5 level of 226 was noted by US embassy monitors in Delhi. Safe levels for PM according to the WHO's air quality guidelines are 20 μg/m3 (annual mean) for PM10 and 10 μg/m3 (annual mean) for PM2.5.

A number of methods can be used to measure air quality, which includes permanent monitoring stations in communities, mobile instrumentation, and industrial stack monitoring. These monitoring stations measure the presence of contaminants in the air, such as carbon monoxide (CO),nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Contaminants are measured in one of two ways: either through continuous (real-time) monitoring where air is constantly measured and the data is automatically transmitted to a central database and through non continuous or discrete monitoring where contaminants collect on a filter or canister over a specified period of time (such as one, three or six days). Then a technician collects the filter or canister and sends it to a certified laboratory for measurement and analysis. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has air quality monitoring stations in Mathura Road, IMD Delhi (Jor Bagh area), IGI Airport, IITM Delhi, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital (Ghaziabad area), Dhirpur, Delhi University, Pitampura, Aya Nagar (Gurgaon), and Noida. The air pollution monitor of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi covers the area of Chanakyapuri. PM 2.5 is a standard recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and allows us to compare against U.S. standard measures.   
The Air Quality Index According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is given below 
Air Quality Index  (AQI) 
Health Effects Statement
PM 2.5
Cautionary Statement

PM2.5 air pollution poses little or no risk.

Unusually sensitive individuals may experience respiratory symptoms.
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Increasing likelihood of respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals, aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; increased respiratory effects in general population.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion; everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy 
Significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; increase in respiratory effects in general population.
People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Serious aggravation of heart or lung disease in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly.
Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, and children should remain indoors.

Air Pollution in India: Real time Air Quality Index Visual Map- 17th February, 2016 

Air Pollution in India: Real Time Air Quality Index Visual Map for Delhi- 17th Feb, 2016

Source for US Air Quality Standards:

Source for Air Quality Map-

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Flyovers In Delhi

Flyovers In Delhi

In a city where the number of private vehicles has been growing at 7-8 per cent annually while the network of road has gone up just about 0.33% in the past one decade, a reliable public transport system with an emphasis on a network of corridors which give precedence to buses is the need of the hour.

While most other countries have already realized the importance and relevance of BRT corridors, its acceptance in India has been dismal. When it comes to India, only eight Indian cities, so far, have BRT corridors running up to 168 km. Experts believe that the last few years have seen Delhi focusing on adding more road infrastructure by adding new elevated roads, flyovers and bypasses while strengthening public transport has somehow failed to catch the attention. More road space only invites more traffic. Any attempt to fulfill this insatiable demand for car-oriented infrastructure —wider roads, flyovers, and parking — is futile. The only solution is better public transport along with stringent measures to control personal motor vehicle use. Delhi must adopt a system-based approach, not just build a piece of road infrastructure for buses.

The Delhi government plans to convert several single-carriageway flyovers in the capital into two-carriageway flyovers to ease the traffic load. The proposal includes the flyovers at Moti Nagar, Punjabi Bagh and Rao Tula Ram (RTR) Marg. A provision for widening the single-carriageway flyovers has been made in the Delhi Budget. In all, there are 76 flyovers in Delhi designed to provide signal-free movement in the city, but with around 1,400 cars added to its roads every day, traffic congestion has increased drastically in Delhi.. Of the 90 flyovers in the city, 25 were constructed in the last five to six years and they are still in good condition and do not require any repair. All other are almost a decade old. Increased load of traffic on these flyovers has lead to wear and tear of the expansion joints and bearings on the flyovers which either needs to be repaired or changed.

The basic objective of constructing more and more flyovers is to de-congest the existing traffic. The government has no doubt given the green signal towards the construction of new flyovers in Delhi but by the time these are constructed, the number of vehicles as well as the population would have gone up manifold. Other Indian cities are following suit in building more roads and flyovers. The increasing number of roads and flyovers had ended up attracting more traffic. Some experts have recommended that the Government should introduce congestion tax and road space rationing in Delhi. Many South American cities do not allow a certain percentage of vehicles to ply on roads during rush hours every weekday or for the entire day. In London, the congestion charge is applied for commuters between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. This has reduced congestion in London and has also helped the Government to raise money for the development of the transport system in the city.

Source for Newspaper Clippings:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Footpaths In Delhi

Footpaths In Delhi

Footpaths Footpaths Everywhere
But Nowhere to Step……………………………..
These lines seems almost true when we take a look at the Footpaths across Delhi as most of them are occupied by Illegal constructions, parking spaces, street vendors for their extended shops and some due to their faulty designs seems not so friendly with the pedestrians. The pedestrians are left with no option but to risk their lives on motorways as the pavements are unwalkable due to open drains, broken tiles and heaps of garbage dumped on them.

Along with the Civic bodies, the residents are also to be blamed as for them it seems that, the pavements are not meant for pedestrians, but for parking their vehicles. As a result, the entire stretches of the sidewalks are packed with vehicles forcing pedestrians to juggle with speedy traffic. 


Removing obstructive parking on the stretches and stopping vendors from encroaching onto the pavements with strict actions to be taken against those riding two-wheelers on pavements, warning shopkeepers, vendors and other such offenders to remove their belongings from footpaths to avoid penalties and prosecution, and urging the public to cooperate in this Endeavour would be some great steps for solving the problem of encroachment of our pavements.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Man Made Natural Disaster


Standard VIII, DAV Public School , Sector 6, Dwarka, New Delhi

The Man Made Natural Disaster

While the whole nation has been left flabbergasted by the so called “natural disaster” in Jammu and Kashmir, a few know the reality. Having spent 9 years in J&K, I remember seeing causeways in the roads for excess water in case of torrential rains. But when the roads were repaired, those causeways were filled and the authorities never minded to reconstruct them. How do they expect the water to flow out without a single causeway? Taking the case of the Kashmir Valley, a place with already so little space for the rain water to seep into the ground and a fragile ecosystem, was destroyed and replaced by concrete buildings and even the verandas were filled with concrete. Many don’t know but the percolation of concrete is more than 200 years. To understand this better, let’s take the example of a flower pot. If we seal the hole at its bottom and plant a sapling and water it every day, the sapling would eventually die because of water lodging as there won’t be any way for the excess water to flow out as the already little opening for the water to flow out was sealed. That’s what happening in Kashmir. This isn’t merely a natural disaster- it’s a “Man Made Natural Disaster”.

---- Dhananjay Rana


KIDS SECTION: 22nd September 2014. 

A brainstorming session was conducted on 22nd September 2014 by ENVIS Centre on Human Settlements, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. The main focus of the session was to setup a mechanism of feedback and suggestions from school teachers and children for efficient interaction with Kids Centre of ENVIS website, in context to updation and dissemination of environmental information, in the field of Human Settlements.

 The session started with welcome address by ENVIS Co-ordinator,  followed with the Key Note Address a by Dr. B. C. Sabat, Eco-Club Incharge, Department of Environment, NCT, Delhi. He gave an overview about the involvement of schools in various environment related interactive activities like plantation, anti-craker campaign, eco- holi, poster competition etc. He suggested to link schools with the website so as to have an interactive work atmosphere and to take forward cumulative results.

ENVIS Coordinator, Prof. Dr. Meenakshi Dhote thanked Dr. Sabat for his suggestions and his directions in involving the eco-club schools. This was followed by a comprehensive overview of ENVIS website in the realm of subject area, city profile, publications, legislations & policies, kids centre, news etc was given; highlighting the knowledge products. Aspects covered under the Kids Section were presented one by one and a booklet of the same was provided to the participants- Games (crossword, quiz, match the columns etc.); building of the month; information on aspects of buildings; important buildings etc.

In view of the growing problem of parking and traffic management in front of schools, especially during mornings and afternoons; the faculty of Transport planning Department, SPA had expressed a desire to initiate traffic surveys coupled with ambient air quality monitoring near the school premises, to capture the factual situation and to take it forward in the form of a proposal for improvement of the conditions.  This was appreciated by all. It was suggested that the discussions should be initiated with the school Principals and involvement of both – the Eco-Club and Transport Department of the School would be required.

Professors form SPA, a Senior Programme Officer from WWF, eight teachers from different schools and two students from DAV Public School, Dwarka took part in the session, which put forth the following suggestions for the Website Contents in relation to Kids Section:

  • Interaction among the schoolsWebsite can provide a platform for inter school participation disseminating information related in subject areas like showcasing green practices/activities in schools, competitions etc.
  • Provide answers to  queries in solving the problemsAspects related to Rainwater Harvesting, Vermi Compositing, Solar Panel etc. installed in schools.
  • Medium for information of species in and around school premisesForming a guide for species identification
  • Website should highlight the various upcoming eventsJoint activities of the schools etc.
  • Continuation with CII and its Green School ManualSPA can contribute by initiating the   installation of green technologies in schools.
  • Provide  monthly wise new and innovative project ideas for schools.
  • Students active participation in website by sending their perception, views, and ideas related to Environment and Human Settlement through articles, stories etc.
  • Practical involvement of students in various aspects of Green Buildings. Initiating direct interaction between the students and the architects.
  • Newsletter column space for student write-up.
  • The content of the website should also incorporate the local architectural designs and use of local building materials.
  • Surveys and studies of urban village schools, rural school conditions in architectural research and information related to them. The works of WWF in schools in villages around Protected Areas could be put forth.
  • Information on research outputs of behavioral and psychological impacts on children of built environment of the school
  • ENVIS Centre in harmony with NGO’s like Roshini can formulate a set criterion; conduct a workshop for implementing energy saving practices in schools.
  • Sensitization of students towards cool roof, flooding, impact of concrete flooring/ pavement, indoor environment, GPS tool (curriculum developed by WWF in relation to same) etc.
  • Environmental slogans to sensitize the masses through ENVIS website.
Dhananjay Rana class VIII student of DAV Public School, Dwarka presented his views for the involvement of students in architectural concept of designing a school building. He also put forth his observations on effects of concrete constructions at lower plains of Jammu & Kashmir, resulting into the floods in the area. This was appreciated by all present and it was agreed to document his observation and upload it onto the website with his photograph, for further encouragement and dissemination.

The session concluded by summing up of suggestions and feedbacks given by all the participants. A certificate of participation of the event will be sent to the respective schools by post.

Details of the Participants:

S. NO.
Renuka Sharma
Laxman Public School
B. V. Prasannlakashmi
Andhra Education Society, Sr Sec School, Prasad Nagar
Ajay Kumar
RPVV, Civil lines
Divya Sharma
DAV Public School, Sector -6, Dwarka
Akansha Bhardwaj
(student class VIII)
DAV Public School, Sector -6, Dwarka
Dhananjay Rana
(student class VIII)
DAV Public School, Sector -6, Dwarka
Nita Nangia Gowswami
WWF India sectt

Anushree Sharma
WWF India sectt
Santhi Nagarajan
DTEA Sr Sec School, Pusa Road
Renu Kashyap
RPVV Kishan Ganj
Prof. Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Prof. Dr.Jaya Kumar

Prof. Dr. Mahavir
Dr. Neha G. Tripathi

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sanitation in Urban And Rural Settlements of India

A safe and sustainable water supply, basic sanitation and good hygiene are fundamental for a healthy, productive and dignified life. And yet many of the world’s poor people lack access to an improved water supply and improved sanitation facilities.  Most Indians depend on on-site sanitation facilities. Recently, access to on-site sanitation has increased in both rural and urban areas. In urban areas, a good practice is the Slum Sanitation Program in Mumbai that has provided access to sanitation for a quarter million slum dwellers. Sewerage, where available, is often in a bad state. In Delhi the sewerage network has lacked maintenance over the years and overflow of raw sewage in open drains is common, due to blockage, and inadequate pumping capacities. This is of greater concern as 88% of deaths from diarrhea occur because of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

 Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene results in tremendous human and economic costs and reinforces gender and other societal inequalities, most notably for women and girls. Chronic diarrheal diseases debilitate victims and, coupled with malnutrition, induce a negative spiral into poverty. Rapidly increasing populations, more migration from rural to urban areas and the feminization of the rural economy are significantly changing the rural context. Such changes augment the vulnerability of many poor rural people and demand innovative approaches to the provision of rural water, sanitation and hygiene (RWSH). Drinking water supply and sanitation in India continue to be inadequate, despite longstanding efforts by the various levels of government and communities at improving coverage.

Policies and Regulations
The responsibility for water supply and sanitation at the central and state level is shared by various Ministries. At the central level three Ministries have responsibilities in the sector: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is responsible for rural water supply and sanitation; the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Ministry of Urban Development share the responsibility for urban water supply and sanitation.

1. National Urban Sanitation Policy.

In November 2008, Government of India launched a national urban sanitation policy with the goal of creating what it calls "totally sanitized cities" that are open-defecation free, safely collect and treat all their wastewater, eliminate manual scavenging and collect and dispose solid waste safely. As of 2010, 12 states were in the process of elaborating or had completed state sanitation strategies on the basis of the policy. 120 cities are in the process of preparing city sanitation plans. Furthermore, 436 cities rated themselves in terms of their achievements and processes concerning sanitation in an effort supported by the Ministry of Urban Development with the assistance of several donors. About 40% of the cities were in the "red category" (in need of immediate remedial action), more than 50% were in the "black category" (needing considerable improvement) and only a handful of cities were in the "blue category" (recovering). Not a single city was included in the "green category" (healthy and clean city). The rating serves as a baseline to measure improvements in the future and to prioritize actions. The government intends to award a prize called Nirmal Shahar Puraskar to the best sanitation performers.


2. Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) or NIRMAL BHARAT ABHIYAAN

Total Sanitation Campaign is a comprehensive programme to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas with the broader goal to eradicate the practice of open defecation. To add vigor to the TSC, in October 2003, Government of India initiated an incentive scheme named the 'Nirmal Gram Puraskar’ (NGP). NGP is given to those "open defecation free" Nirmal Gram Panchayats, Blocks, and Districts which have become fully sanitized. The incentive provision is for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as individuals and organizations that are the driving force for full sanitation coverage.  A "Nirmal Gram" is an "Open Defecation Free" village where all houses, Schools and Anganwadis having  toilets and awareness amongst community on the importance of maintaining personal and community hygiene and clean environment. 


School Sanitation and Hygiene Education, widely known as SSHE, is a comprehensive programme to ensure child friendly water supply, toilet and hand washing facilities in the schools and promote behavioral change by hygiene education. SSHE not only ensures child’s right to have healthy and clean environment but also leads to an effective learning and enrolment of girls in particular, and reduce diseases and worm infestation. SSHE was introduced in the Central Rural Sanitation Programme in 1999 both in TSC as well as in allocation based component. At present, SSHE is implemented under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) and given special thrust by following the proven route of teacher-children-family-community where child is a change-agent playing an effective role on sustained basis to spread the message of improved sanitary and healthy practices


……… a way forward !

City sanitation Plans
City Sanitation Plans are strategic planning processes for citywide sanitation sector development. Addressing technical and non-technical aspects of sanitation services, city sanitation plans includes the vision, missions, and goals of sanitation development as well as strategies to meet these goals.

City Sanitation Plans for Various Indian Cities

For more City Sanitation Plans of Indian Cities, use the link given below:

According to the UNICEF’s Estimates:
Universal access to adequate sanitation is a fundamental need and human right. Since 1990, 1.9 billion people have gained access to an ‘improved’ form of sanitation, such as flush toilets or latrine with a slab. This means that, in 2012, 64 per cent of the global population was using such facilities – an impressive accomplishment but still far from the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target of 75 per cent. At current rates of progress, the target will be missed by over half a billion people.

UNICEF estimates that almost 594 millions nearly 50% of India’s population defecates in the open with the situation     particularly acute in impoverished rural areas. UNICEF estimates that almost 594 million —nearly 50 percent of India’s population — defecates in the open, with the situation particularly acute in impoverished rural areas such as the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh.  The lack of private toilet facilities is a problem recognised across the political spectrum.

7) India is home to 594 million people defecating in the open; over 50 per cent of the population.