At long last I managed to get a guest on for the show. Siddharth Singh and I sat down for a conversation surrounding his book “The Great Smog of India“. As the title suggests, the book deals with the air pollution crisis in India. This is one of those books that makes one reach for the highlighter and it frequently makes the reader go “No wait, that can’t possibly be true. Can it?!”

To quote from the back of the book : “It isn’t that the scientific community and policymakers don’t know what causes air pollution, or what it will take to tackle the problem. It is that the problem is social and political as much as it is technological, and human problems are often harder to overcome than scientific ones. Each sector of the economy that needs reform has its underlying political, economic and social dynamics that need to be addressed to make a credible impact on emissions.

With clarity and compelling arguments, and with a dash of irony, Siddharth Singh demystifies the issue: where we are, how we got here, and what we can do now. He discusses not only developments in sectors like transport, industry and energy production that silently contribute to air pollution, but also the ‘agricultural shock’ to air quality triggered by crop burning in northern India every winter. He places the air pollution crisis in the context of India’s meteorological conditions and also climate change. Above all, and most alarmingly, he makes clear what the repercussions will be if we remain apathetic.”

Even with a 90 minute conversation we only touched on parts of the book. That should give you an idea of how much info is packed into those 228 pages. You can reach Siddharth here.