quick reads

The big news: Modi launches Ghogha-Dahej ‘ro-ro’ ferry service in Gujarat, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: The government started collecting DNA samples of the kin of 39 Indians missing in Iraq, and Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s aides joined the BJP.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. PM Narendra Modi inaugurates the Ghogha-Dahej ferry service ahead of Assembly polls in Gujarat: The prime minister will flag off projects worth more than Rs 1,140 crore.  
  2. DNA samples of families of 39 Indians missing in Iraq being collected: India requested Iraqi authorities to investigate the mass graves found in Mosul after it was recaptured from the Islamic State on July 9, reports said.  
  3. Hardik Patel’s key aides join BJP ahead of upcoming Gujarat Assembly election: Reshma and Varun Patel reportedly accused the organisation’s leader of becoming a Congress agent.  
  4. Jharkhand minister cancels official’s order on linking Aadhaar to ration cards after child’s death, says report: Minister of Food and Public Distribution Saryu Roy cited a Union Government’s circular to withdraw the chief’s secretary’s order.  
  5. New bikes and scooters with engines less than 100 cc will not be allowed pillion riders in Karnataka: The government said the ban will apply only to new bikes, and was being enforced to improve safety of riders.  
  6. Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Rawat forms Govansh squad to check on cow smuggling in Kumaon, Garhwal: The chief minister said each team will have 11 policemen, including an inspector.  
  7. Cyrus Mistry’s ouster could have been handled in a better manner, says former Tata Sons official: Former Tata Sons Senior Executive Nirmalya Kumar was also removed from the company on the same day.  
  8. Punjab government to shut down 800 primary schools with less than 20 students to save resources: The government said the move will not harm children’s right to education, and students will not travel more than 1 km from home to reach school.  
  9. Militant killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Handwara, rifle and Pakistani currency found, says official: The encounter is still underway, the Indian Army said.  
  10. All five living former US presidents come together to raise funds for hurricane victims: Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and Jimmy Carter made a rare appearance on stage together in Texas.  
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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.