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Numbers of vehicles to be restricted in Delhi

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New Delhi: In a bid to combat rising pollution, the Delhi government on Friday decided that odd and even number vehicles will ply on alternate days in the city from January 1, official sources said.

The decision, taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, will not apply to CNG-driven buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws but will also cover vehicles entering the capital from other states.

The sweeping move – like the one taken in Beijing in 2013 – will apply to a large bulk of the some 90 lakh vehicles registered in Delhi, where about 1,500 new vehicles are added every day.

Delhi’s vehicular population – which cause choking jams on all weekdays – includes some 27 lakh cars.

The Delhi government has also decided to shut down south Badarpur power plant, one of the coal-based plants of the NTPC.

The government will also launch a web-based app which people can use to report about polluting vehicles in the capital.

The decisions came a day after the High Court said that the national capital was like a gas chamber, and sought immediate action from the central and Delhi governments.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality of the capital is said to be “very poor” with an air quality index of 331.

When air quality index ranges between 301 and 400, the air is said to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.

Earlier measures apparently have not dented the increasing air pollution in the city, leading to major health issues.

In October, the National Green Tribunal announced an “Environment Tax” or “Green Tax” on commercial vehicles entering the city.

The Delhi High Court later ordered all private radio taxis to switch over to compressed natural gas (CNG) before March 1, 2016, if they desired to operate in the capital.

NGO Greenpeace warned recently that the indoor air in Delhi was five times more polluted than it should be according to Indian standards.

The WHO, however, says this is 11 times more than their prescribed level.

(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

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