Five Success Factors for conquering the Delhi Pollution Problem

If there is one question that Delhi residents ought to ask themselves it is this: What are the success factors for conquering the Delhi Air Pollution? Success Factor#1: The Need for Data Let’s consider the facts. Fact#1: Over a million Indians died in 2016 due to air pollution. Delhi is ranked as the most polluted [...]

Quenching the fields – Exploring solutions rather than announcing bans could douse the fires

If we really want to solve a problem, we should define it carefully, and use data to guide our actions. If we want to reduce Delhi’s winter air pollution, then we need to address biomass burning. Yet, a recent TV clipping shows a farmer setting paddy straw ablaze on national TV. The voiceover says “These [...]

Delhi Air Pollution – How is the way we think about it so so wrong?

(A version of this article appeared in Firstpost: http://www.firstpost.com/living/delhi-routinely-tops-global-air-pollution-rankings-how-we-can-seek-more-effective-solutions-4179921.html The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet recently reported that air pollution is associated with 6.5 million deaths annually, and as the Lancet rather poetically puts it, is a “killer indifferent to political agendas and that cannot be contained by borders”. Don’t we know it? Because pollution is [...]

Dengue – What to Do?

In South India, the conversation seems to always turn to Dengue. The neighbourhood hospitals are overflowing with dengue cases, and sachets of Nila Vembu Kashayam (a herbal remedy against fevers) are being sent home, as per government instructions, in my 5-year-old’s homework diary. Offices and factories are reeling under a wave of absenteeism as workers [...]

Why action on flooding is less likely than an Indian GoT starring Rajinikanth?

We began this mini-series within the column by talking about the Gujarat and Assam floods. Major Catastrophes? Little more than a month ago, large parts of Gujarat and Assam had been inundated by water, and lakhs of people had been displaced. Between then and now, Bihar has been devastated by the floods. Parts of Bangalore [...]

Why we are the way we are – part II

A version of this appeared in Firstpost on Aug 20th: http://www.firstpost.com/living/climate-change-and-the-social-contract-how-our-choices-lead-to-predictable-tragedies-3950247.html A Faustian Bargain – Social Contracts, Climate Change and predictable tragedies Last time we saw how our societal choices – building over water bodies, dumping rubbish in rivers and allowing slums to come up on river banks – join hands with climate change and [...]

Why we are the way we are?

So many of us give and receive inane advice. Things usually are the way they are for good reasons. It helps to understand why. A three part series on why India is the way it is - and how we can change it? The first part appeared in Firstpost on August 6th: http://www.firstpost.com/living/gujarat-assam-floods-why-blaming-climate-change-while-customary-is-also-unhelpful-3893631.html Want to [...]

Why should we care about coral reefs disappearing?

Pro: They are such a beautiful, rich source of life and biodiversity. Con: How are they even related to me? I care more about the jobs and the economy. Certainly, the "Pro" argument will not cut any ice with any person struggling with holding onto their jobs or finding a new job. Corals are remote, [...]

Green = A divine rebirth

(Image courtesy: Flickr/Sandeep Achetan) (This effort was also carried by the Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/society/when-your-actions-speak-how-much-you-love-your-city-and-care-for-the-environment/article19587578.ece) As a society, we equate size with quality. Bigger the better. This belief has even come to our faith and our festivals. Take the Ganesh Chaturthi. In countless households across India, families welcome Ganesh into their homes in the form of a clay [...]

Au Revoir, M’sieur Trump?

(This was published in Firstpost on Jun 01, 2017) “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.” Good advice for the rest of the world in waiting for America’s decision on the Paris accord. Especially since [...]