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Delhi’s air is being polluted by three perverse subsidies

We had to share this from the Times of India Blog April 12, 2015 by Sa Aiyar in Swaminomics

Delhi’s air pollution is terrible. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned diesel vehicles more than 10 years old, having already banned petrol vehicles over 15 years old. But IIT Professor Dinesh Mohan has revealed that old vehicles constitute a tiny, almost irrelevant fraction of Delhi traffic.

Delhi has fewer cars per thousand persons than Singapore, London or Paris, but much dirtier air. Mohan says much better data and research are needed to identify all the causes. The courts have over the years passed several orders — shutting polluting industries, instituting vehicle pollution checks, converting public transport to CNG, and so on. Yet, Delhi’s air is worse than ever. We have a poor understanding of the underlying causes.

Mohan cites one research study showing that transport accounts for only 17% of particulate pollution. Yet the tribunal seems to think this is the main cause. Mohan suggests much broader solutions including a massive switch to public transport and mixed residential-commercial zoning to cut commuting.

These issues are important, but only part of the story. In this column, let me highlight three massive subsidies that encourage dirty air, yet are widely ignored in debates. The big subsidy for diesel, a polluting fuel, has now ended. The sharp fall in global oil prices has enabled the government to decontrol diesel. But kerosene remains highly subsidized. It sells for barely Rs 15/litre, a third to a quarter the price of diesel in different states. Unsurprisingly, studies suggest that up to 40% of kerosene is used for adulterating diesel. And adulterated diesel is the most polluting fuel of all.

Politicians keep kerosene ultra-cheap, supposedly to benefit poor villagers using kerosene lamps. But the main beneficiaries are blackmarketers and adulterators. Some experts suggest raising the quality of fuels produced by refineries to cut air pollution. But even ultra-pure diesel and petrol will become highly polluting if mixed with kerosene. The profits from adulteration are enormous, and the policejudicial system has proved incapable of checking it.

The simplest way forward is to give villagers entitled to subsidised kerosene one free solar lamp each, warrantied for five years. After that, the kerosene subsidy should be abolished, and the price of kerosene and diesel should be equalized. By ending the incentive to adulterate, this will allow kerosene to be sold at filling stations.

Diesel adulterated with kerosene also spoils diesel engines, shortening their lives. The spoiled engines further increase air pollution, a double whammy. Thus kerosene adulteration has severe environmental as well financial consequences for trucks, railways and diesel gensets. Yet, no activist will approach the courts to demand an end to the kerosene subsidy and equalization of diesel and kerosene prices. That is considered politically incorrect and anti-poor. Sorry, but the pollution unwittingly ensuing from cheap kerosene is terrible for the lungs of poor people with limited access to medical help. The worst hit are pavement dwellers, who bear the brunt of vehicular smoke.

The second hidden polluter is subsidized urban electricity. Urban power supply is so erratic that diesel gensets are being increasingly used as a back up. These are highly polluting, yet serve an important and rising need. The solution is to ensure 24/7 electricity, making gensets superfluous. Alas, politicians insist on high subsidies that have crippled most state electricity systems, with annual losses of over Rs 60,000 crore and cumulative losses of Rs 300,000 crore. There is an urgent need to check subsidies, along with power theft and transmission losses.

Yet, most politicians give top priority to lower prices, regardless of the financial consequences. Today, even when surplus power is available, some states cannot buy it for want of cash. The resulting power shortage increases genset use and pollution. No activist castigates subsidized electricity as a polluter, but it is. India needs empowered independent electricity regulators setting tariffs at levels that ensure solvency and facilitate 24/7 electric supply, ending genset use. Limited subsidies for the poor are feasible.

A third major cause of pollution is free or highly subsidized parking. The NGT wants to end parking on Delhi roads to lower congestion. But even official parking lots are highly subsidized, and some charge just Rs 10 per day. This should be closer to Rs 200 per day, or Rs 25 per hour, to reflect the true value of social space. A parked car occupies up to 150 sq ft, as much as a small shop. When shops pay high rents, why not cars too? The higher parking charges can be used to improve public transport.

In sum, the tribunal should avoid solutions like an army of inspectors checking the age of every vehicle entering Delhi. Instead, it should curb perverse subsidies that encourage pollution.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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Why You Should Switch To Organic Clothing Today!

If you think that being pesticide free and made out of organic certified dyes is the only reason why organic clothing is good for you.. Then today we are gonna add a few more reasons to that list!

We know that your question “What is Organic Clothing!?” is still half answered. The fact is, it is organically cultivated and made according to the guidelines formed by organization such as Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) which guarantees that your T-shirt is not only pesticide free, but also it is not made by any use of genetically modified seeds, or any other chemical yielding aids. GOTS certifies, that what you are wearing is environmentally friendly from the state of raw material through to the finished piece.

Embrace Yourself! Do U Speak Green is GOTS certified.

So, coming to the main part the reasons why you should switch to organic clothing today, IMMEDIATELY! are:

1. It is The Latest Trend!

Trend is to develop or to change in a particular direction. And according to latest studies our planet is on the verge of breaking down. So, if gifting a safer planet to your loved ones is your motto, then you have got to follow the latest trend of Green Fashion!

2. Saves Your Food Lords “The Farmers”

Farmers2

Many times, due to crop failure and high input cost of conventional cotton, numerous farmers in India, resorted to suicide when they could not repay their loans. Also, most farmers cannot afford to buy Masks & gloves while cultivating the chemical greedy cotton; which puts their life and health in danger (see more here). Growing organic cotton is cheaper than growing conventional pest prone cotton. The input costs for organic cotton production, reduce over time, keeping the farmers debt-free even after a crop failure.

3. It is Great For Your Skin

If you have a sensitive skin and/or prone to allergies than organic clothing is your ultimate stop, because it is 100% chemical free at every stage of production. And even if you do not suffer from any chemical allergies or sensitivities, you will definitely feel better wearing pure, soft comforting organic cotton against your skin.

4. It is Always Premium Quality!

Organic clothing gives an awesome feeling when you wear it. Nothing compares to the soft, comforting, relaxing, and the purity of the Organic Clothing. If you are a quality freak! You now know where to buy from.

5. Its Long Lasting Just Like Your Pair of Denims

Hemp, a natural organic textile material, is resilient and a fast grower. And because of its long fibers, it has 4 times the strength of cotton, which makes it a more durable fabric. So if you are worried that your classic denim and T-shirt pair will not last, dear mate we have your solution.

6. It protects you from the sun

One wonderful feature of organic clothing made out of hemp is that they filter out UV rays on those hot summer days. And they also have antimicrobial properties which are again great for your skin.

7. Saves Your Mother Earth

Since, organic cultivation does not allow genetically modified seeds it saves arable land from drying up. As it is pesticide free the habitat of poor useful insects and other local animals remains unaffected and prevents pollution of soil and ground water.

Did You Know that conventionally grown cotton accounts for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide!

8. Saves Your Precious Water

Shockingly, there is less than 0.5% drinkable fresh water available on our planet. Most of it comes from lakes, ponds, ground and river, which gets contaminated by the chemicals used while irrigating and manufacturing. Organic clothing strictly prohibits any use of chemicals and saves your precious water. Also Material like hemp require little water to grow (1/20th Of cotton to be precise)

9. Saves Adorable Poor Animals

Many species of aquatic animals and insects are put into danger because of the chemicals used while growing conventional cotton.

10. Reduces Your Carbon Footprint

If you are irritated with temperature increasing every day, your solution is Organic clothing. According to studies Organic cotton farming produces far less CO2 emissions and also due to Organic farming 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per acre per year is removed out of the atmosphere

Now that you know how you can benefit yourself and the world with Organic Clothing .. Switch today Get it here Do U Speak Green

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