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The Great Smog of India Air pollution kills over a million Indians every year—silently Families are thrown into a spiraling cycle of hospital visits critically poor health and financial trouble impacting their productivity and ability to participate in the economy Children born in regions of high air pollution are shown to have irreversibly reduced lung function and cognitive abilities that affects their incomes for years to come They all suffer silentlyThe issue is exacerbated each winter as the Great Smog of India descends and envelops much of northern India In this period the health impact from mere breathing is akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day The crisis is so grave that it warrants emergency health advisories forbidding people from stepping out And yet for most Indians this is now life as usual

  • Hardcover
  • 272 pages
  • The Great Smog of India
  • Siddharth singh
  • 02 October 2016
  • 9780670091171

10 thoughts on “The Great Smog of India

  1. says:

    Full Review Air Pollution cuts average Indian’s life expectancy by over 4 yearsThick haze engulfs Delhi air uality remains severe Delhi smog reveals a global failure on climate changeThese headlines make me sick every time I scroll twitter or any digital news site especially when I hear about Delhi I have spent 5 years of my childhood there particular area was in developing mode then we had parks gardens of course traffic would exist still situation was not that exhausting and now ? I feel suffocated after knowing that people has started buying oxygen packsIs this for real? Is that something we are working hard for? If we have wound in a part of our body doesn’t the whole body get affected? That’s what happening to me that’s why I needed to read this book THE GREAT SMOG OF INDIA by SIDDHARTH SINGH Though we can’t recover what is already lost but we can surely act towards right direction to save what we have leftWithout stuffing data and statics author created a well researched book Isn’t it great? I read a non fiction that too on serious issue still I have been enjoyed it thoroughly The way Siddharth Singh conveyed message into the form of storytelling is commendable Readers are not generally interested in major views they want to know how air pollution impacted human lives On this note author did a great job Simple language makes this book gripping Author turned it into a must read by including human case studiesThis book considers the fact about biomarkers and its impact on our genetic material; everyone knows the damage that leads to cancerIn a chapter author mentioned an experience of an athlete Sania how Delhi Smog robbed a runner of her passion and left her distraught Of course Sania is not alone who suffered there are many complaints of severe headache and constant coughing hours so much so that it has been degrading life uality on daily basisAir pollution kills over a million Indians every year silently The silence around the issue is not merely a function of inaction our government has been working continuously to cope up with crisis taking several measures towards reducing emissions still there are holes left in the strategies which need to be reviewed And this book is perfect eye opener for everyoneFull review is on blog

  2. says:

    Right about the time I was finishing The Great Smog of India I also read headlines such asDelhi spends Christmas indoors as air uality severe on fourth dayandDelhi gasps for air AI recorded at 423These are two among hundreds such news pieces that emerge out of the capital annuallySiddharth Singh’s The Great Smog of India after The Great Smog of London of 1952 which also featured on Netflix’s The Crown talks about the declining uality of air and the rising air pollution in our country particularly particulate matter in India treating Delhi and others states in the North as ground zero In a nutshell it paints the story about how our post independent economic and political needs and decisions influenced the way government industry farmers and several other factions of society treated the air around them and how we which is mostly Delhi came to this junctureSingh writes at the beginning of the book that he is “not an environmentalist – at least not in the functional sense of the wordwhat I certainly am is curious I have spent a good part of the past eight years observing and working on energy the economy mobility and climate policies“It is this vantage point of being a close observer that allows him to tie our air pollution crisis with policy economy and administration and present a lucid picture of the history of how we came here with bits of advice on how the higher powers can move forwardThis is a vast topic and it was too easy to have become boring or too complicated for the lay reader But the journalistic narrative shines and the flow of the book divided into nine chapters does not break for a single moment We go from learning about The Silence of the Crisis to Energizing India a very positive and comprehensive chapter on the different sources that power India from coal to nuclear from solar to hydro power and How India Moves and then the real highlights of the book the Agricultural Shock and The Administrative Tournament my favourite chapterEach of these chapters opens with a little story an anecdote of how air pollution affects real people These cover a fair spectrum of the social classes if not all I am not in the position to cross check all his hundreds of references so I will not speak about its merits The primary goal of the book to paint a cohesive picture from the many fragments of information one may otherwise receive from newspapers and other sources is achieved seamlessly If you are a lay reader with an interest in the environment it will inspire you to turn this into a voting point In the last chapters I almost started a petition on Changeorg There is some trivia thrown in like of a hydropower accident that took place in China in 1975 but was made public only in 2005 Conflicting contrasting and competing opinions and situations are laid out bare on the pages and as muddled as say the administration of Delhi is it also brings perspective to the reader’s understanding of just how governments function or how everything in our life from food to air is tied up with politics and the decisions of policy makers There are some small things that the editor should have taken better note of – the first few pages feel less like a book of non fiction than an SEO driven article there is one page on which the words Great Smog and India appears thrice and that sometimes a point is repeated than necessary Not a perfect bookI have three issues with the book The first two may seem small; because it has to do with the unappealing title font type and the cover which does not nearly convey the gravity of the situationThe third and biggest problem is the tone of book Until the very end the book assumes the reader is an upper middle or rich Indian who has not faced air pollution with lines like “You and I have been insulated from this travesty”Perhaps that is the target audience but as someone who does not enjoy the luxury of being insulated from air pollution there is a metro line being constructed right outside my house I largely take public transport in Mumbai and find it difficult to breathe almost everywhere I go I felt it was alienating Even when he does include himself like when he writes “It can be frustratingly up close and personal if pungent smoke from municipal waste burning bothers you like it does me” it is an exception not the normIt’s always “the government the industry and the society” not “the government the industry and us” So while it is the book about energy policy that it intended to be it would perhaps only attract the reader with an existing interest in environment and chances are that such a reader would not need convincing about the need for a robust energy policy in the first placeEven among the readers think about the spectrum If you are rich you have enough ways to battle air pollution and not one line to dissuade you from doing so is there in the book and neither are many ways prescribed in which you can participate If you are in the middle class there is not much you can do because he does make room for the aspirations of an upwardly mobile economy And if you are poor the author has not considered that you are a reader even when he does talk about the poor being most affected He is talking about you never to you This is perhaps intentional but by doing so Singh and the publishers have narrowed the scope and possible impact of their own productLike I said before It could have aimed to turn pollution in particular and environment at large as an electoral issue for the upcoming elections It could have at least created the foundation for making it an electoral issue in the years to come but it did not and I think that is its failure Instead of wasting several pages on a recap of what was spoken in the book which it does at the end it could have been a note to the reader on his own participation as citizen and voterAll in all you may not naturally pick this book if you are not from Delhi but you should Corporates MBA classes students of policy making with an interest in environment will all benefit from getting such a broad yet nuanced overview of the issue of air pollution in India It’s a good starter kit in a sense And yes I believe it should be made compulsory reading for all our environment related ministries at the state central and local level and then there should be a massive book club discussing this Perhaps that would bring in the much needed coordination he talks about

  3. says:

    Disclaimer I received a review copy of this book in return for an honest review Siddharth Singh's The Great Smog of India manages to both scare the hell out of the reader and give hope where none used to existWe all read the newspaper reports about the pollution levels in Delhi of course but the conseuences of those pollution levels on individual health and therefore on India's health systems and its productivity as an economy aren't uite so evident on a day to day basisThis is what TGSoI does well It begins by summarizing the impact of the pollution levels Then it delves deep into each of the causes of the rise in pollution each winter whether it's industrial pollution or vehicular emissions or the burning of agricultural residue or Delhi's geographical situation or the uniue administrative hassles of Delhi as a city state and capitalThe chapter on crop burning is done particularly well; it makes it crystal clear why the farmers of Punjab and Haryana have no option but to burn the crop residue every year and why it's a comparatively recent phenomenon I was surprised to learn that solutions to the crop burning issue do actually exist The reason they are not being implemented is lack of finances combined of course with lack of political focusThe book makes for grim reading The problem seems insurmountable its causes so numerous and varied and its conseuences impacting so many people Most importantly the solution would reuire many widely different sections of people not necessarily in political alignment with each other to act in concertDespite this the author manages to end on a hopeful note If London can escape the pollution linked smog caused by coal and if China can reduce its deadly pollution levels by switching from coal to cleaner fuels surely there's no reason we can't eitherThis book is essential reading for anybody living in Delhi or its surrounding areas The only problem is that you'll want to run away from home after reading the very first chapter

  4. says:

    A much needed book for the times Well researched and well articulated it lays out the problem and possible solutions But it is a book that is aware of the political realities of Delhi and does not offer the irresponsible hope that many other environmental publications tend to I am grateful to Siddharth Singh for undertaking this endeavor

  5. says:

    Air pollution We have made countless projects during our schooling years and yet this book tells us we haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg Well written and the language is such that even those not in the energy sector can grasp the ideas

  6. says:

    Read this book to understand India's air pollution problem Spend 6 8 hours to understand the most pressing issue of our age The author spent years to research different aspects of the problem This book is a result of reading research papers reports government regulations and policies news personal interviews and blogs A lot of people don't realise the gravity of the pollution problem globally With the lens of the city of Delhi and Indian problems he explains what is air pollution How and why is it getting worse? Who are the stakeholders that contribute to the problem? What has been tried to fix it? What kind of political technological societal issues plague this complex issueThe case of economic development in India is strong through sustainable development practices with energy efficiency focus I promote the book because he conveys the urgency of the situation to mitigate climate change I talk about this book because I'm afraid people are too caught up in their lives to pause read and evaluate a course of action; something that could be sustainable and less painful for all types of people

  7. says:

    A thoroughly researched book on Air pollution in India A must read for anyone who need to understand this problem in depth and Siddharth provides a holistic view to this problem

  8. says:

    This book can be easily called as the 'NEED OF THE HOUR'I spent a major part of my childhood in Delhi and it hurts my heart to see the state it has been reduced to off late I refused a job offer in Delhi which could have been a dream job for me purely because my doctor felt it was unsafe for me to live in that city with my chronic ailment Since last 4 years I have been trying to visit Delhi and unfortunately I can't because of reasons you must have guessed by now For me reading this book was trying to understand what exactly went wrong where how and why I needed to know why clean air suddenly seemed so precious akin to a rare luxury and why was it no longer a basic necessityRead the whole review on my blog

  9. says:

    Siddharth Singh in the first chapter of his book gives us a chilling statistic In sheer magnitude air pollution kills over a million Indians every year albeit silently More residents of Delhi are killed silently every week than have been killed in terrorist incidents in the past decade More Indians are killed every week by air pollution than have been killed in all India Pakistan wars put together since Independence Again silently The book has come at a time when the city grapples with poor air uality failing health conditions and our refusal to change our lifestyle With air pollution rising with increased force every passing minute the author has attempted to give us a clear account of the cause behind India's decreasing air uality the factors contributing to it and how human health is affected while exploring what pollution stands for and it's origination The author goes on to articulate and compare how other countries tackled their air pollution crisis; whether it was a success or not and further delves into the administrative issues that have hindered policies and action We've all witnessed the air uality in Delhi deteriorating adding to major health risks accidents and overall discomfort to the citizens It's like the city is swallowed whole by a layer of black smoke Singh says Air Pollution is a structural issue in the region one that spans several states and countries Particularly in the winters a haze encompasses the entire northern Indian region The situation is far worse than what meets the eye but the people are so used to it and no longer take it seriously During Diwali despite severe warnings people stepped out wearing masks to burn crackers It's alarming how we're ready to ignore the health risks and continue being in denial Singh talks about the impact economic disparity has on healthcare Those belonging to affluent and upper middle class families can afford private healthcare while those who can't have to deal with government hospitals that are ill euipped and understaffed and have little to no experience in treating patients The dilapidated condition of the hospitals is not a myth When working on a series Vidya Krishnan the health and science editor at The Hindu newspaper had to visit a government run hospital in Old Delhi What she saw was alarming and terrifying Not only did she spot cats roaming about in it but they were also collecting placenta and biomedical waste to eat If you think the horror ends there you're wrong The urinal was placed inside the maternity ward When she expressed her concerns to a doctor she was dismissed and asked to mind her own business  The poor continue to suffer and with India's rising air pollution the future looks bleak It comes as no surprise that children are facing the brunt of air pollution the hardest There several ongoing studies both in India and other countries One such study revealed negative impacts on language and mathematics skills measured in fourth grade children due to particulate pollution Naturally the productivity of the working force is affected which in turn affects the economy The book ends with the author giving us a summarized version of The Great Smog of India the factors leading up to it and the solutions to combat the issue It is commendable how much research has gone into the making of this book; it's extensive and can be understood easily All in all this book is a concise guide on understanding and learning about the big monster air pollution that has been looming and seems to only grow powerful 

  10. says:

    Full review on the blog the past few years every winter India especially the northern states go through a heavy smog influence While Delhi stands at the top of the list with the worst air uality most of the northern states are no exception to this issue The severity has only been increasing with each passing year however governments and the population at large have only been going through this rather than taking serious steps to minimize it This book is a comprehensive account of smog its effects on human life economy and the various factors that contribute to smogThe writer starts with the major factors causing smog and how the population living in these cities knowinglyunknowingly are exposed to it and hence the health risks faced by them This in turn effects the economy the sectors like public health and their inability to cater to the growing needs uality of life of the residents and how the various sectors of the society are involved in this vicious cycle The writer observes how this serious problem is interestingly not a point of discussion or agenda for any political parties during their election campaignsThe writer then goes onto explain in detail the various factors like geographical disadvantage faced by some of these cities Like how Chennai also is a hub for extreme industrial pollutants but the sea winds help in carrying away these particles Cities like Delhi which lack a sea to carry away the pollutants also have added disadvantages like dust getting carried over from the Thar desertThe next sections are dedicated to the forms and sources of energy generation and hence the resulting pollution industrial wastes pollution from automobiles debate about public transport and the different fuels used by citizens the habit of crop burning in states like Punjab which generally coincides with the winter months resulting in non movement of the generated smoke The next two sections gives detailed in sight into how the administration is handling this grave problem and how policy making is not helping the real cause The writer concludes with how general public need to react and respond to this smog issue and what can be done starting from smaller to larger scales with respect to citizen responsibilityThe author has done in depth and extensive research around the subject and provides ample data and statistics to support all his arguments The book is comprehensive educative and stresses the need to understand and act on this issue before the situation goes further out of controlThis book is a must must read for all the citizens of India to know the smog situation and the compelling reasons behind it beyond what the news headlines speak about

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