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Global experts call for better coordination between center, states to curb air pollution


New Delhi: Global experts on Wednesday called for better coordination between the central and state governments in India to collectively tackle the problem of air pollution.

Experts, who have been researching on the measures to curb air pollution across the world, also urged the Indian government to ensure that the states and the monitoring agencies take the primary responsibilities being given to them as part of their role towards the environment.

“Air pollution control is a collective effort. There needs to be unique policy and program on the ways to curb it down. There has been a gap between the states and the Center on such issues, unlike the US, where one policy is collectively implemented by every governing body,” said Lesley Onyon, the WHO’s South East Asia Regional Advisor for Occupational and Environmental Health.

She was speaking at a discussion on air pollution titled “Your Breath is Your Health” at the American Center here.

She said that while a law is being implemented, it has to be ensured that it is properly implemented in terms of its administrative and civil sides.

About lack of law to control household air pollution, considered one of the major reasons behind breathing problems, Onyon said household air pollution was responsible for 40 percent of lung diseases in India.

“Household air pollution causes 39 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), 39 percent of Ischemic Heart Diseases (IHD) and 37 percent of strokes. So, it becomes vital for India to come up with a stringent law,” said the WHO officer.

Srikant S. Nadadur, program director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Research Science, emphasized on having harsh laws on crop burning, entry of cars from one state to another and on burning of wood in winter, which has become one of the major reasons for the increase of carbon in the air.


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Air Pollution: WHO Releases List of The Best And Worst Cities

90% of world's population breathes badly polluted air: WHO

Air Pollution
WHO releases a list of most and least polluted cities. Pixabay

Nine out of every 10 people on the planet breathe air that contains high levels of pollutants and kills seven million people each year, according to a new World Health Organization (WHO) study released on Wednesday.

The study is an analysis of what the WHO says is the world’s most comprehensive database on ambient air pollution. The organisation collected the data from more than 4,300 cities and 108 countries, reports CNN.

People in Asia and Africa face the biggest problems, according to the study.

More than 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths happen there, but cities in the Americas, Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean also have air pollution levels that are beyond what the WHO considers healthy.

The new WHO data show that US cities on the more polluted side of the list include Los Angeles, Bakersfield and Fresno, California; Indianapolis; and the Elkhart-Goshen area of Indiana.

Air Pollution.
Air Pollution. Pixabay

Peshawar and Rawalpindi in Pakistan, have some of the highest particulate air pollution levels in the database. Varanasi and Kanpur in India; Cairo; and Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, also show higher levels.

“I’m afraid what is dramatic is that air pollution levels still remain at dangerously high levels in many parts of the world,” CNN quoted Maria Neira, director of the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, as saying.

“No doubt that air pollution represents today not only the biggest environmental risk for health, but I will clearly say that this is a major, major challenge for public health at the moment and probably one of the biggest ones we are contemplating.”

Particle pollution, a mix of solid and liquid droplets in the air, can get sucked into and embedded deep in your lungs when you breathe. That can lead to health conditions including asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), according to the study.

Also Read: Air Pollution And Its Effects On Our Health

These outdoor particulates — including sulphate, nitrates and black carbon — are largely created by car and truck traffic, manufacturing, power plants and farming. In total, air pollution caused about 4.2 million deaths in 2016, it added.

“Many of the world’s megacities exceed WHO’s guideline levels for air quality by more than five times, representing a major risk to people’s health,” Neira said. This is “a very dramatic problem that we are facing now”.

Cleaner air accounts for in cities like like Wenden, Arizona (population 2,882), or Cheyenne, Wyoming (population 64,019).

The Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna area of California; Battlement Mesa, Colorado; Wasilla, Alaska; Gillette, Wyoming; and Kapaa, Hawaii, are all on the cleaner-air list.

One of the bigger US cities with cleaner air is Honolulu, according to the WHO data.  (IANS)