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A newspaper here in Bangalore had an article on the Kyoto Treaty the other day. As I was reading it, something struck me as slightly strange.
As they were explaining what the treaty was, they were also trying to explain why it was necessary to curb polution. Their statement was something like “since the early 1900s the western countries have been pumping mass amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” Now, this is definitely a true statement. I just found it to come across as very naive, because apparently the writer hasn’t stepped outside in any Indian city and felt the immediate effects of massive air pollution.
Again, everything they said was true. But for someone reading this who may not be educated on the world air pollution problem, they will take away that it’s all the fault of the “West.”
Some interesting data here on the levels of pollution of various cities around the world. Right now I’m in a city in India rated as having about 56 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter (as of 1999, it’s probably much higher now). Let me tell you, it’s VERY noticable. You can feel the pollution as you breath it. But, the scary thing is that Bangalore was the second lowest city in India in 1999, and Delhi had a value of 187!
I’ve spent most of my life in cities that would probably have a value well below 20 on this chart. One thing I couldn’t find was data at a country level. I’d like to see how all countries in the world compare. If India or China have not yet overtaken the US for air pollution, the trends are obvious that they will, and increase very fast from there.