Sunday, 22 July, 2018

WHO Report: India Should Follow China's Footsteps in Combating Air Pollution

A toxic haze engulfed Delhi for more than a week in November 2017 A toxic haze engulfed Delhi for more than a week in November 2017
Becky Salazar | 03 May, 2018, 17:31

Clean household air has been a focus point for the current government in India, which has been pushing for LPG cylinders for households that still use traditional cooking methods.

Two Northern Ireland cities are among dozens of places in the United Kingdom which suffer from worrying levels of air pollution, a report has said.

Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of deaths related to air pollution was seen in low-income and middle-income countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.

Globally, 15 out of the 20 most polluted cities are in India, while 16 of the most polluted cities in the European Union are in Poland.

Updated estimations reveal an alarming death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.

India also suffers under the weight of the dual burden of ambient and indoor air pollution.

Some towns and cities did not have figures for 2015, but had breached the recommended limits in the most recent year data was available, including Manchester, Scunthorpe, Liverpool and Salford, the figures show. New data from World Health Organization shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

On a positive note, the report cited the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Scheme as an example to taking measures to control air pollution.

About 4.2 million deaths in 2016 were caused by ambient pollution, while another 3.8 million deaths were caused by household pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies, such as open fires or stoves fueled by kerosene, biomass and coal. In terms of PM 10 levels, 13 Indian cities were among the 20 most polluted in the world.

The particulate matter monitored includes pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon, which pose the greatest risks to human health.

"We are seeing an acceleration of political interest in this global public health challenge".

The report also said that nine of ten people in world breath toxic air.

WHO's global assessment is based on satellite data and modelling overlaid on the database of more than 4,300 cities, an nearly 50% increase compared to WHO's previous report in 2016, and is self-selecting, because it is based on voluntary reporting, with numbers that have been hugely revised since the previous report.

Though the critical level of air pollution in Delhi earlier this year led the center and state governments to take steps to curtail it, the Indian capital is still among the world's top 10 most polluted cities. But James Thornton, Chief Executive of environmental law charity ClientEarth, said: "These new statistics show a worrying level of this unsafe air pollution across the country".

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