quick reads

The big news: Top AIADMK leader removes Sasikala, chief minister from party, and 9 other top stories

In other headlines: Urjit Patel said the economy will recover from the effects of demonetisation, and Donald Trump will sign a new immigration ban order.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Former AIADMK presidium chief removes chief minister Palaniswami, Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran from party: Mylapore MLA R Nataraj said he will vote against Edappadi Palaniswami in the Tamil Nadu Assembly floor test.
  2. Benefits of demonetisation will take time to reflect in Indian economy, says RBI chief Urjit Patel: The impact of the currency ban will be ‘a sharp V’, but the country is in a ‘good place’ in terms of financial stability, he said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
  3. Donald Trump to replace suspended immigration ban with new executive order: The US administration wants the appeals court to pause the legal fight in the matter, after it refused to reinstate the restriction last week.
  4. Bengaluru’s Bellandur lake catches fire again because of illegal debris dumping: A fire official said the lake was either deliberately set on fire or a nearby blaze had sparked the waste chemicals inside the water.
  5. Five new Supreme Court judges take oath, total strength at 28: The new judges were previously the chief justices of the Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madras and Rajasthan high courts.
  6. More than 70 people dead in blast at Sindh’s Lal Shahbaz shrine in Pakistan: At least 300 were injured in the explosion that occurred at a place where a Sufi ritual was being held after evening prayers.
  7. Badminton player PV Sindhu breaks into the top 5 in world rankings: Last year’s Olympic silver medallist had also clinched the China Open Super Series in November.
  8. Dead rats in midday meal send nine Delhi government school students to hospital: Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the supplier will be booked and blacklisted.
  9. Work-from-home culture has its perks, but leads to higher stress levels, says UN report: Teleworking involves no travel time and leads to a better work-life balance, but it also blurs the line between a job and personal life, the study found.
  10. Debate over triple talaq, other Muslim personal laws may be referred to a Constitution bench: The Centre submitted questions to the Supreme Court, seeking to determine whether the divorce law, nikah halala and polygamy violated fundamental rights.
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Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.