City Buzz: Air pollution toll in cities | Rise in EV demand… and more

Other news of the week: Delhi claims to have planted 2 crore saplings in 4 years; Mercer report identifies costliest Indian city.

Air pollution kills 33,000 every year in cities

Air pollution in 10 of India’s cities kills 33,000 every year, even where pollution levels conform to India’s air quality standards, according to a study in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health. India’s clean-air threshold is too high, nowhere near or getting closer to the World Health Organisation recommendations.

Even coastal centres, where air quality is considered to be moderate, such as Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, have seen a significant incidence of air pollution-related deaths. Even in the Himalayan town of Shimla, with the cleanest air among the 10 cities studied, 3.7% of deaths are related to pollution.

Examining 3.6 million deaths between 2008 and 2019 across the sample areas, the researchers overlapped them with a detailed map of the distribution of PM 2.5, a compound of tiny cancer-causing pollutants that can enter the bloodstream. They found that even 48 hours of exposure to high levels of the particles could worsen life expectancy collectively.

About 7.2% of fatalities in 10 of the most polluted cities of India, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, are linked to PM 2.5 concentrations. Delhi is found to have the largest fraction of daily and yearly deaths attributable to PM 2.5 air pollution.

The source of such pollution is said to be industrial and vehicular emissions.

Source:, Business Standard 

Read more: Raise a toast to these changemakers trying to protect urban environment

EV demand shooting up in mid-size cities

Tier-II cities might be the next big demand centres for electric vehicles (EVs) in India, even as the gap in demand for EVs between large and mid-sized cities narrows. This has been revealed by an analysis of the electric two-wheeler and car sales, by strategic research provider Bloomberg NEF (BNEF). It studied 207 cities across 10 states, including Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

The electric two-wheeler sales in some Tier-2 markets have actually outrun the growth in metropolitans. But within Tier-2 cities, state capitals seem to be leading the electric car sales growth. While the EV sales are growing rapidly, they vary across its 36 states and union territories. In wealthier, populous and more developed Tier-1 cities, the EV demand is high. But adoption in Tier-2 cities is also rising.

Bengaluru overtakes other Tier-1 cities in EV adoption of passenger and two-wheelers. On the other hand, Jaipur accounts for more than 79% of all electric cars in the state’s five Tier-2 cities. Lucknow leads UP’s sales growth in 2023, with demand reaching 1,120 units. Thiruvananthapuram is at the forefront with 840 electric cars sold and Gurugram, a fast-growing city that shares a border with the national capital Delhi, sees nearly 1,570 electric cars sold in 2023.

The potentially large auto market and EV strategies could make Tier-2 cities the demand EV hubs of the future. But in smaller cities with limited disposable incomes, policy support would be crucial to boost sales.

Source: Business Standard, Hindustan Times

Delhi government shares details of green cover drive

About two crore saplings were planted in Delhi in the last four years, against the government’s target of five years, said Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai. About 64 lakh more saplings of various species will be added in the next year. It will be kickstarted from Narela on July 11 along with the monsoons.

Calling for residents’ support, he said that seven lakh saplings will be distributed free of cost. The first phase will cover 30 assembly constituencies and will run until August 9. A third-party audit will be conducted to assess the survival rate of newly planted saplings, with the previous audit showing a survival rate of 60%.

Source: Business Standard

Mumbai costliest city in India: Mercer report

Mumbai skyline
Skyline of Mumbai city as seen from Churchgate. Pic: Aj777x, Wikimedia Commons.

Mumbai has emerged as the most expensive city for expats in India in Mercer’s Cost of Living City Ranking 2024 list, which analysed 226 cities worldwide. Costs of over 200 items were assessed to arrive at the ranking, including housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment. Globally, Mumbai stood at 136th place in the list, which is 11 spots higher compared to last year. Delhi emerged as the second costliest city from India, ranking 165 globally.

Other Indian cities featuring in the list were Chennai (189), Bengaluru (195), Hyderabad (202), Pune (205) and Kolkata (207).

Source: Livemint

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