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CNN10 2019-11-05

CNN 10

Officials Scramble for Pollution Solutions in New Delhi; Century-Old Shipwreck Approaches Niagara Falls; App Aims to Change Public Transportation

Aired November 5, 2019 - 04:00:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN 10. Where ever you're watching around the world, we thank you for taking 10 minutes for our show. This Tuesday we're starting in southern Asia. Of the 30 most polluted urban areas on the planet, 22 of them are in India the world's second most populated country. In fact, the nation's capital New Delhi is ranked as the world's most polluted city and right now the smog is at its worst. Record levels of pollution are expected for at least the next week. Government officials have declared a public health emergency and they've taken steps to try to get a handle on the pollution. They're stopping work at construction sites, which sends dust into the air.

They're limiting the number of cars that are allowed on the road, encouraging people to carpool and reducing traffic by 4 million vehicles each day.

But experts say, this isn't likely to have a major effect on the smog because a lot of it comes from outside New Delhi. Around the time of year when temperatures drop, India's farmers light fires to get rid of leftover crops and eliminate stubble on the ground. That produces a lot of the pollution that settles over New Delhi. The government has tried to address that problem in the past. One way was by providing farmers with discounted equipment that could keep them from having to burn the unwanted leftovers but nothing has really worked and it may take a change in the weather for the problem to improve. That's especially concerning to residents of New Delhi because researchers have compared living in a place with heavily polluted air to smoking a pack of cigarettes everyday.


IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The air in the Indian capital is toxic. The air pollution so bad that authorities have declared a public health emergency cancelling school, diverting flights and urging residents to stay indoors. The cities chief minister taking to social media to sound the alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TRANSLATED: We do not to blame anyone. This is an issue about health. An issue of breathing in air. The health of our children, our families, the people of Delhi, that's what's at stake here.

WATSON: Bad smog is an annual problem in New Delhi but this year the pollution has hit record levels. Thermal satellite imagery from NASA reveals one contributing factor to the smog. Thousands of suspected fires burning upwind from the Indian capital in the neighboring state of Punjab.

Farmer in India typically burn their fields this time of year after the harvest. Weather patterns then trap that smoke up against the Himalayas around northern cities like New Delhi but experts say the capital city also creates much of its own pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are four types of sources. You've got industries and power plants. You have transport emissions, particularly trucks but also private vehicles. You have based burning of various kinds and you have road dust and construction dust. All of them are major contributors of air pollution today (ph) and those are the sources that we need to be targeting better within the city.

WATSON: The government imposed an odd, even policy aimed at reducing cars on the road. It's also issued millions of masks to children but doctors say they've seen a surge of patients suffering respiratory problems. On Sunday, demonstrators protested against the pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're concerned about our futures and about our health but we are also fighting this on behalf of children and the elderly who are- - who bare the biggest brunt of the (inaudible).

WATSON: New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and forecasters say there are no signs the air will improve anytime soon. Ivan Watson, CNN.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Where would you find about 20 percent of the world's surface freshwater? Great Lakes, Greenland Ice Sheet, Caspian Sea, or Lake Victoria. Together it's the Great Lakes that contain about 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

A lot of that water flows over Niagara Falls and back in 1918 a boat known as the Iron scow almost flowed with it. During a dredging operation, the vessel became detached from its tugboat and started drifting toward the falls. Two men were aboard and they intentionally opened up compartments at the bottom of the boat to flood it and slow it down. The scow grounded on some rocks in shallow rapids. The men were eventually rescued the next morning and because it was too dangerous to try to remove the scow itself, it's been rusting there less than 2,000 feet from Horseshoe Falls ever since. But last Thursday there was a storm, high winds and heavy rains dislodged the boat and moved it 150 feet closer to the Canadian side of the falls. It was the first time it had noticeably moved in 101 years and the Niagara Parks Commission says it's anyone's guess whether the Iron scow will remain there for days or for years.

Back on land, we're taking a look at how an application is helping people get from A to B in South Africa. GoMetro was started in 2012. It's original goal was to help people keep track of trains. What their schedules are, what their fares are, when there were problems with them or service stops. It's expanded to recommend more efficient routes for minibus taxis. People rely on them for most of the transportation to work and school across South Africa but one obvious draw back to more efficiency is that minibuses wouldn't go to as many different places as people may want them too. Riders who might need door to door service for instance, could have trouble getting to a designated stop. But the company is one example of how virtual information is changing physical transportation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some public transport is formal like a bus that follows a schedule and arrives at each stop on time. Others are informal where the route always changes and you can get on and off whenever you want to, like South Africa's minibus taxis which account for nearly 70 percent of all public transport trips in the country in 2013.

JUSTIN COETZEE, GOMETRO CEO: In the informal sector, there is no requirement for (inaudible) to safety (ph), labor and other (inaudible) of normalcy. In fact, these are normally the ones that the industry sacrifices in order to be sustainable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Justin Coetzee who's start up GoMetro is using big data to help authorities begin to regulate informal public transport in South Africa.

COETZEE: There's an enormous amount of inefficiencies as to how there routes have sprung up and how they've been - - been created over time.

And so our data is able to consolidate them into a much more rational plan (inaudible) entire city (ph) to work with. So this - - this Mac Book is an example of work we've just finished for the city of Cape Town where we rode every single taxi route in the city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GoMetro begins by tracking things like route distance, number of stops and when passengers get on and off. Then the company collate all that data into a model of the network. They then suggest changes to make and optimize the network more efficiently. Finally the company deploys monitoring devices to make sure the network operators stick to the new plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're standing here at the Caravelle (inaudible) Theater. It's actually association Q or (inaudible). So it's up to every passenger to decide where he wants to stop, very inefficient because travel will stop and start all the time.

COETZEE: What we found was that we're - -we're doing about 3,000 riders in the morning. Some of the operations are extending a little bit further than necessary for maybe one or two pick ups. So when we formalize we're going to stop a lot of the special deliveries and the special door to door.


COETZEE: Because that's - - that's wasting - -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) money (inaudible).

COETZEE: Big money. (inaudible) we think we can generally find between 15 (ph) and 50 percent efficiencies are to buy introducing bigger vehicles, changing the routes, changing the schedules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Transit systems across the world are looking to use big data to improve their services and GoMetro now maps in Argentina, Kenya,

Mexico, the USA and India to name but a few. Helping less formal networks take steps towards official recognition.


AZUZ: While bow hunting from his kayak in Michigan's Grand River, an outdoor sportsman recently came across an old Coke bottle and thought it was litter. On closer inspection though he found a message in the bottle dated April 4th, 1976. It had a name and an address on it and more than 43 years after Troy Breeman (ph) tossed it into the water, he got his response on Facebook. The sender and the finder of the message found they have a lot in common.

Of course after so many years have "floated" by, the nostalgia might have left the sender a little "glassy eyed" but it shows how time is a bridge between past and present and a "River Runs Through It". So next time you're out and "aboat" and you get a message who's text is in pencil from days of yore, don't keep it all "bottled up". It could end your day on an "up note". We hope today's show did. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN.