Air Pollution Report-WHO (Download PDF)

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Report released by WHO on air pollution and child health. Sidelines of its first ever global conference on Air Pollution and Health. About 93 % of the world’s children under the age of 15 (1.8 billion children) breathe polluted air every day. Includes 630 million children under 5 years, and 1.8 billion children under 15. low- and middle-income countries- 98 % of all children under 5 are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines and in high-income countries, the figure is 52%. Impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer.

  • Greater risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.

  • Can damage children’s lung function, even at low levels of exposure.

  • Premature birth, small, low birth-weight children.

High Air Pollution in Northern India

  • Changes in temperature and slowing winds trap dust and fine particulate matter.

  • Burning of urban waste, diesel soot, vehicular exhaust, road and construction dust, and power generation.

  • The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) -Sharp deterioration of air quality in Delhi-NCR, due to a western disturbance system in the north of India which is bringing moisture and a cyclonic system on the eastern side.

  • Increased burning of paddy straw in Punjab and Haryana.

  • Burning of agricultural residue- smoke, highly damaging fine particulates or PM2.5.

  • Burning of urban waste, diesel soot, vehicular exhaust, road and construction dust and power generation.

Aerosols Causes Shrinking of India’s Monsoon

  • Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Climatologists.

  • Major cause of weakening of the monsoon.

  • Suspension of particles in the atmosphere.

  • Both human-made and natural sources.

  • E. g. Volcanic and desert dust, sulphate from coal.

  • Impact cloud formations.

  • Offset warming from greenhouse gases.

  • Weakens a good monsoon being produced by the difference in temperature between land and sea.

Black Carbon in Stratosphere

  • Black Carbon may be ejecting from airplanes.

  • Depletion of the ozone layer.

Black Carbon (BC)

  • Produced both naturally and by human activities.

  • A result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass.

  • Strongly absorb sunlight and give soot its black color.

  • Emitted directly into the atmosphere in the form of fine particles (PM2.5).

  • Known to be one-fourth as potent as carbon dioxide in whetting global warming.

Adverse Effects

  • Enhance melting of glaciers.

  • Potential to upset monsoon.

  • Health hazard.

  • Ozone depleting Agent.

Needs to Be Done

  • High importance should be given to the WHO warning about air pollution.

  • To reduce emissions, the Central and State governments need to get into crisis mode.

  • An innovative approach could be to use climate change funds.

  • Use of technological options to convert the farm residues into biofuels and fertilizers.

  • Large cities should reorient their investments to prioritise public transport thereby favouring electric mobility.

  • Strict road pricing mechanisms.

  • Implementation of deterrent parking fees in crowded areas of the sprawling cities.

  • Public force on the government.

- Published/Last Modified on: March 9, 2020

Health, Environment/Ecology

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