Category Archives: Media

It’s About Time We Got Smart About Monitoring Our Air Pollution: The Wire: By Sarath Guttikunda

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 8.44.17 PM.png“The quality of air in India is bad and is becoming a serious public health issue with huge repercussions to our quality of life and economy. We know this through anecdotal evidence and through the little data on monitoring that trickles down to the public. This limited information is not enough – to formulate policy, to understand seasonal and diurnal variations, to tease out patterns or to calibrate forecasting models. It is the right of any citizen to have access to information on the quality of air she is breathing – monitoring data that is real-time, reliable and accessible to any citizen.”

Sarath Guttikunda, scientist and director of Urban Emissions India,  explains the importance of having real time monitoring information. The current use of modeling comes with uncertainty and is “not a substitute for daily on-ground monitoring. What we need are ground measurements using reference methods approved by the environment ministry.  This ensures that the monitoring information is reliable and conforms to the government’s standards,” he argues.  The current manually operated stations provide inaccurate data and information. Instead, he says, what’s needed are “continuous air monitoring systems for more reliable, more traceable, more accessible and more transparent information for real-time data analysis.”

Read about Guttikunda’s assessment and calculations on the investment required for operating continuous air monitoring program in major Indian cities and states on  The Wire.  September 15, 2017.

It’s About Time We Got Smart About Monitoring Our Air Pollution


Delhi’s air quality this August has been worse than that of last year: CPCB: The Indian Express

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 8.53.51 PM.pngAccording to a report prepared by CPCB in March last year, the cities of Varanasi and Faridabad are the most polluted in winters, with the air quality index regularly showing the severely polluted warning sign. Delhi is at number three, as per the report.

Delhi’s air quality has suffered more in the first two weeks of August as compared to the same time last year, data collated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows. Moreover, Delhi is the second most polluted city among the neighbouring ones including Gurgaon, Faridabad, Agra and Ghaziabad.

However, Ghaziabad, where air quality monitoring was started only this year, is the most polluted with an average air quality of 126.7 as compared to Delhi’s 112.

Delhi and surrounding areas see the best air quality in the months of July and August because of the rain…” The Indian Express. Read the full article on

Delhi’s air quality this August has been worse than that of last year: CPCB


India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green: The New York Times

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 7.48.23 PM.png

“Just a few years ago, the world watched nervously as India went on a building spree of coal-fired power plants, more than doubling its capacity and claiming that more were needed. Coal output, officials said, would almost triple, to 1.5 billion tons, by 2020.

India’s plans were cited by American critics of the Paris climate accord as proof of the futility of advanced nations trying to limit their carbon output. But now, even as President Trump pulls the United States out of the pact, India has undergone an astonishing turnaround, driven in great part by a steep fall in the cost of solar power.

Experts now say that India not only has no need of any new coal-fired plants for at least a decade, given that existing plants are running below 60 percent of capacity, but that after that it could rely on renewable sources for all its additional power needs.

Rather than building coal-fired plants, it is now canceling many in the early planning stages. And this month, the government lowered its annual production target for coal to 600 million tons from 660 million.

The sharp reversal, welcome news to world leaders trying to avert the potentially deadly effects of global warming, is a reflection both of the changing economics of renewable energy and a growing environmental consciousness in a country with some of the worst air pollution in the world.

What India does matters, because it is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. And its energy needs are staggering — nearly one-quarter of its population has no electricity and many others get it only intermittently.

With India’s power needs expected to grow substantially as its economy continues to expand, its energy use will heavily influence the world’s chances of containing the greenhouse gases that scientists believe are driving global warming.

Much attention at the time of the signing of the Paris agreement was focused on the role President Barack Obama played in pushing India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, to sign. In doing so, Mr. Modi committed India to achieving 40 percent of its electricity capacity from nonfossil-fuel sources by 2030…”  The New York Times. Read the full article on

India, Once a Coal Goliath, Is Fast Turning Green