Monday April 23, 2018

Kejriwal leads ‘Car Free Day’; pollution level drops by 60%

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The city witnessed a 60 per cent drop in the air pollution on the first Car Free Day, said a report released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday.

The car-free initiative as well as the low traffic load on Dussehra has helped lower the pollution levels and toxic exposure in the city.

“Today (Thursday), the air particulate matter (PM 2.5) was 265 micrograms per cubic metre (cu m) in comparison to a normal day, when the particulate normally was 689 micrograms per cu m,” said the report released on Thursday evening.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when its levels in the air are high.

PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee too has supported the CSE report and has observed overall drop of 45 percent in PM2.5 level in the city.

The car-free day in Delhi was observed on the stretch between Red Fort and India Gate with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leading a cycle rally in the morning.

“This initiative of the Delhi government has only helped to prove how the growing car numbers in the city aggravate toxic pollution. If these numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), CSE.

The exposure monitoring on the road was carried out by CSE first on October 21, a regular day, and during the car-free event on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to social media to share the impact of car free day, saying we need to reduce traffic.

In the series of tweets, he said: “Almost 60 percent reduction in pollution noted on that road. It means traffic is main culprit. We have to reduce traffic.”

“Comfortable, reliable, accessible public transport system and better designed roads is the key. I’ll personally work on this,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Youth in polluted cities at increased risk of Alzheimer’s

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Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Pollution can lead to Alzheimer's in youth. Wikimedia Commons

Children and young adults living in polluted megacities are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating brain disease characterised by memory loss, a new study has warned.

“Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early,” said one of the researchers Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas from University of Montana in the US.

Air pollution can trigger Alzheimer’s. Flickr

“It is useless to take reactive actions decades later,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. The findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, indicate that Alzheimer’s starts in early childhood, and the disease progression relates to age, pollution exposure and status of Apolipoprotein E (APOE 4), a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied 203 autopsies of Mexico City residents in the US ranging in age from 11 months to 40 years.

Metropolitan Mexico City is home to 24 million people exposed daily to concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone above US Environmental Protection Agency standards. The researchers tracked two abnormal proteins that indicate development of Alzheimer’s, and they detected the early stages of the disease in babies less than a year old.

Also Read: Your daily cup of coffee can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms

The scientists found heightened levels of the two abnormal proteins — hyperphosphorylated tau and beta amyloid — in the brains of young urbanites with lifetime exposures to fine-particulate-matter pollution (PM2.5).

They also tracked APOE 4 as well as lifetime cumulative exposure to unhealthy levels of PM2.5 — particles which are at least 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and frequently cause the haze over urban areas. The researchers found hallmarks of the disease among 99.5 percent of the autopsies they examined in Mexico City. In addition, the findings showed that APOE 4 carriers had a higher risk of rapid progression of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s can cause depression too. Pixabay

The researchers believe the detrimental effects are caused by tiny pollution particles that enter the brain through the nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and these particles damage all barriers and travel everywhere in the body through the circulatory system.

The authors noted that ambient air pollution is a key modifiable risk for millions of people across the globe. “Neuroprotection measures ought to start very early, including the prenatal period and childhood,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. “Defining pediatric environmental, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk-factor interactions are key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. IANS