1.Extreme exposure (Down to Earth)

2.How hopes for travel ease, trade boost ride Ghogha-Dahej ro-ro ferry (The Indian Express)

1.Extreme exposure (Down to Earth)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of rising pollution in world’s cities and measures. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Around 92 per cent of the world’s population is breathing polluted air, but the world’s obsession with fossil fuel cars seems to continue unabated. According to the Green Mobility Report by the World Bank, there will be an additional 1.2 billion cars on the road by 2030 which is double of today’s total.

Study finding

  • If we were to assume that of the additional cars, 40 per cent were diesel, then the total pollution levels will be much higher than 1.2 billion cars. As per New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment, the reason will be emissions from a single diesel car are equivalent to at least 25 petrol cars.
  • Given the gravity of the situation, countries world over are slowly waking up to the challenge.

Examples

  1. UK- Despite following the clean EURO 6 emission norms, the country has recently announced it will completely stop the production of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. In fact, Oxford city has pledged to shift to electric vehicles in the next three years, which is the most ambitious target set by any city in the world.
  1. Singapore- Singapore, which has one of the world’s stringent traffic policies, has decided to freeze the number of vehicles on its roads from next February. The cap was introduced by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) because of “the scarcity of land” for cars and to enable “public transport upgrades”. 
  1. France- Rising pollution levels prompted Paris to recently announce that it will ban all petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars by 2030, which is a decade ahead of France’s 2040 target.
  1. Belgium- Companies in Belgium are being encouraged to reward their employees who bicycle to work by paying them 23 cents (Rs 18) per km. The new law also covers electric bicycles that can reach up to 45 km per hour.

India

  • As Indian cities slip into that unfathomable vortex of air pollution, comes another shocker: 100 per cent Indians are exposed to PM 2.5 air pollutants in excess of the value specified by the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines, according to a report by The World Bank.
  • The recently released Global Mobility Report 2017 by The World Bank is the first ever attempt to examine the performance of the transport sector globally. This report collated air pollution data from 103 countries. It has found that all Indians were exposed to PM 2.5 in excess of the WHO guideline.
  • Worldwide, the report finds, 98 per cent of cities in developing countries do not meet air quality guidelines, as against 56 per cent such cities in high-income countries. Only 10 per cent of people around the world live in cities that comply with WHO air quality guidelines.
  • Some of the most populous and rapidly expanding cities in the world suffer the most, as population growth leads to increases in congestion and fuel consumption, especially in the transport sector,” says the report. Estimate suggests passenger traffic will exceed 80 trillion passenger-kilometres—a 50 per cent increase from current level.
  • India’s air pollution problem needs to be tackled systematically, taking an all-of-government approach, to reduce the huge burden of associated ill-health. In 2013, the Air Resources Board, the clean air agency in California, and the Energy and Resources Institute, an Indian research agency, initiated the India–California Air Pollution Mitigation Program. Other recent measures in the capital include tighter vehicle emissions’ norms, higher penalties for burning rubbish and better control of road dust.
  • The Indian government also took some steps in this direction committing to a 50% reduction in households using solid fuel for cooking and removing subsidies for polluting cooking gas to improve access to clean fuel for household cooking.
  • India included an additional target on reducing air pollution to the nine targets set out in WHO’s Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013–2020 in its national NCDs strategy.

Question– Given the gravity of rising pollution, countries world over are slowly waking up to the challenge. Illustrate.

 

2.How hopes for travel ease, trade boost ride Ghogha-Dahej ro-ro ferry (The Indian Express)

Synoptic line- It throws light on the Ghogha-Dahej ro-ro ferry service to reduce the travel time between Saurashtra to South Gujarat. (GS paper I)

  • PM will inaugurate Ghogha-Dahejro-ro ferry, a dream project expected to revolutionize Saurashtra and South Gujarat.

What is the Ghogha-Dahejro-ro ferry?

  • The roll on, roll off (“ro-ro”) ferry will ply the Gulf of Khambhat between peninsular Saurashtra and South Gujarat. Ghogha in Saurashtra’s Bhavnagar district lies 17 nautical miles, or 32 km, across the gulf from Dahej in Bharuch district.
  • The ferry, the first of its kind in India, will be able to carry up to 100 vehicles (cars, buses and trucks) and 250 passengers between the two ports.

When was the project conceptualised?

  • Congress had been promising a ro-ro ferry service across the Gulf of Khambhat (formerly Cambay) since the time of Balwantrai Mehta, Gujarat’s second Chief Minister (1963-65).
  • Sources in the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) said the project started to take shape after 1995, when the state government came up with a ports policy.

Why is the project important?

  • Over the years, lakhs of people from the Saurashtra districts of Bhavnagar, Armeli and Rajkot have migrated to Surat in South Gujarat to work in the diamond and textiles industries.
  • The shortest road distance between Bhavnagar and Surat is around 360 km, and the journey takes 8-10 hours.
  • But Ghogha is just 25 km from Bhavnagar, and Dahej is 120 km from Surat — the ferry service can, therefore, cut the distance between the two cities to around 170 km, and the travel time by half.

 

How is the project politically important?

  • Surat’s diamond industry is controlled by Patidars who have migrated from Saurashtra. Patidars have been seeking OBC status and quota benefits in jobs; Surat has seen large scale violence, and a number of BJP events have been interrupted by protesters.
  • Surat’s textile traders, too, have protested vehemently against the Goods and Services Tax. The ferry service could be seen as the BJP’s attempt to assuage them. 

Question: Examine the potential and importance of inland waterways sector in India and measures needed to increase their length.