Friday Fact – Reduce Air Pollution by implementing Preventive Seiso

November 15, 2019by Faber Infinite

Did you know almost 10,000 lives are claimed every year in Delhi (capital of the country – India) due to its increasing pollution? 

Delhi – the Capital of India is one of the most polluted cities. A few of the major causes of the pollution in Delhi are because of the industrial smoke, stubble burning, and vehicle smoke. There are sayings that planting more trees can help the place purify. But the pollution of Delhi won’t be cured solely by just planting trees. The state authorities will have to come up with “Preventive Seiso.”

Seiso is a Japanese term from its Five S methodology which means to make everything clean. With Preventive Seiso, here we mean to come up with the strategies to cure and clean the air from the root cause. Here is a powerful example of how getting to the root cause of air pollution have helped cities get over with the pollution. 

Toronto faced similar challenges in addressing its urban air quality issue. In 2004, one of the researches claimed that air pollution in the city led to 1,700 premature deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations per year. When the same research drew a survey in 2009, it stated that improved air quality over the subsequent decade resulted in the reduction of premature deaths and hospitalizations by 1,300 and 3,550 respectively.

These improvements in the health statistics were based on improvements and steps taken towards air quality in Toronto over the first decade of this century. Sulfur Dioxide reduced by 79% and Nitric Oxide reduced by 36%, Carbon Monoxide reduced by 78%, and Particulate Matter25 reduced by 30%. The air quality improvements were driven by reductions in emissions in Toronto, Ontario, and the U.S. Great Lakes states that are substantial sources of upwind pollution for Toronto and Ontario. Toronto Public Health estimated in 2014 that 51% of the premature deaths and 45% of the hospitalizations were attributable to sources outside of Toronto. 

The air quality improvements in Toronto were driven by a variety of policies, but Toronto’s story is unique in that a key policy was the decision by Ontario to eliminate coal from its electricity generation. The Toronto Board of Public Health, on several occasions in the early 2000s, advocated for converting Ontario’s coal-fired generators to natural gas. The political support for such a policy extended beyond Toronto to much of the rest of Ontario. Concerns about the health impacts of air pollution were a key driver of the move to phase out coal.

The emissions reductions from the electricity sector during this time were substantial. Between 2004 (the year before the first coal plant was retired) and 2013, PM10, SO2, and NO2 emissions from electricity generation declined by 90%, 91%, and 65%, respectively. Phasing out coal in electricity generation was the most significant among the many policies Toronto and Ontario adopted during this time frame to reduce local air pollution. In 2013, the Ontario electricity sector emitted less than 4% of the Sulfur Oxides in the province, down from around 30% a decade earlier. Nitric Oxide and Particulate Matter10 emissions also dropped sharply (from 12 to 5% and 7 to less than 1%, respectively).

The coal phase-out in Ontario was a key part of improving Toronto’s air quality over the past decade. Similarly, there have been several cases of air pollution reduction in various cities!

Hence, as you can see, when the root cause of the issue is found out and worked upon, it can help the city reduce air pollution by a significant amount. The same Preventive Seiso can be implemented in Delhi as well. 

This approach can also help any organization that is dealing with similar issues. So, have you started applying the right tools to reach the root cause? 

Data References: International Gas Union

by Faber Infinite

Faber Infinite is an International Business Management Consulting Organization offering consulting solutions and services for Increase Profitability in Business.

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