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 [...]