Uncovering the Full Scope of Plastic Pollution: Beyond what meets the eye

When we think of pollution, the usual culprits come to mind: air, land, sound, and water pollution, as well as the sight of streets littered with waste. Solutions often seem straightforward—keeping our streets clean and using waste bins to manage waste. However, is this enough to address the multifaceted issue of pollution? Even if we keep our streets clean and use waste bins diligently, what happens next? My understanding of pollution was limited until I attended a transformative training workshop at the Sambhaavnaa Institute in Palampur (Himachal Pradesh), co-organised by the Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA) in May 2024.

In the wonderland of sustainable mobility

We are in a strange world where the word sustainable mobility has assumed a multitude of interpretations. Mobility is stuck so much to a passenger car that as common citizens, we have stopped thinking any differently.  

Let us try and examine some realities... 

Even in large cities, more than half the trips happen on foot, bicycles and public transport. Most of the road, probably more than 80% is occupied by private cars, accounting for just one passenger per car. The investment in good roads, and flyovers etc., specifically in cities, is the largest chunk of development budgets.

If we need sustainable mobility, we need to look at several parameters for more comprehensive understanding of the problem:

0. First think of whether you need to move at all

Highway Safety Challenges in India: Understanding road crash patterns and way forward

The Global Status of Road Safety report (GSRRS, 2023) by the World Health Organisation has reported a reduction in road traffic deaths globally. There were an estimated 1.19 million road traffic deaths in 2021 – a 5% drop when compared to the 1.25 million deaths in 2010.  However, RTIs have continued to increase in India, with 1,68,491 deaths reported in 2022, an increase of 9% from 2021 (MoRTH, 2023). Thirty six percent of these fatalities were reported on National Highways (NH), 24% on State Highways (SH) and 39% on other roads. The proportion of RTC on NH, SH and other roads have remained unchanged since the road network in India was 63.32 lakh km in March 2019.

Five essential ways to enhance shared mobility

Shared mobility plays a pivotal role in the transportation landscape of Indian cities, addressing the diverse needs of their residents. Shared mobility includes vehicles that operate on a sharing basis, such as shared auto rickshaws, or the more recent “aggregator” models such as Uber/Ola. This article talks about the shared mobility that operates without an aggregator platform. Shared mobility is sometimes also called ‘informal public transport’ or ‘intermediate public transport’. These terms are indicative of the role and their importance as a mode of public transport.