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Listening to the news on the way to work this morning the last story was about the smog problem in New Delhi. The amount of particulate matter in the air was something like ten times the recommended levels for good health.

Part of the problem stems from residents who burn small fires to keep warm when temperatures drop. Combined with crop burning, vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions from coal-fired plants, dust from building sites and smoke from the burning of waste, air quality is frequently unhealthy for residents. The AQI tends to spike when there is a lack of wind to clear out the particulate matter.

“India’s smog problem is due, in part, to the cooler temperatures recently, the lack of big weather systems to move air pollutants around and an ongoing drought across much of the country,” said weather.com meteorologist Jonathan Belles. ”

It looks pretty bad there:

They have been dealing with their smog problem for quite a while. Devising on the ground solutions to the particulate matter difficulties:

But this current bout with pollution has been the attributed primarily to the actions of farmers in the surrounding regions:

Poor farmers lack the modern tools to clear their fields after harvest. The traditional solution is to burn the stubble to the ground. Hence the annual spike in pollution in the city of New Delhi.

These sorts of problems are calling out for a communal based solution. The people in the city need to help the people in the poorer rural areas acquire the proper technology (tractors) to help them efficiently clear the fields. With the fields not being burnt, the air quality in New Delhi would improve, or at least not be exacerbated by the annual crop stubble clearing.

Wouldn’t be nice if we could get away from the capitalistic neoliberal model and focus on working on the problems that we face together?  The world is just too small to continue to ‘f-you, I’ve got mine mentality’.

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