Grand Tamasha

Jessica Seddon on India’s Air Pollution Crisis

Episode Summary

14 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world are in India. What can be done about it?

Episode Notes

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of the 15 most polluted cities in the world. 14 of the 15 were in India. This is a troubling statistic that has been repeated ad nauseam in the media, by environmental advocates, and by concerned citizens of the country. But what are the causes of this environmental crisis, what are the social costs, and what—if anything—can be done about it?

To tackle these questions, Milan sits down with Jessica Seddon on this week’s show. Jessica is the Global Lead for Air Quality at the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities at the World Resources Institute and she has spent more than a decade living and working in India on issues related to urbanization, infrastructure, the environment, and decentralization.

Milan and Jessica discuss air pollution’s wide-ranging social impacts, why the crisis is so acute in India, the impact of Delhi’s “odd-even” experiment, and what—if anything—policymakers can do to turn the tide against toxic air quality in India’s cities.