Sunday December 16, 2018

40 percent of Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of particle Air Pollution: Report

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Air pollution is seen hanging over the city of Los Angeles. Six of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in California, according to a new report. (Flickr) VOA
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April 19, 2017: A new report says 40 percent of Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of particle air pollution.

The annual “State of the Air” report, released Wednesday by the American Lung Association, also found that six of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution were in California.

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The report found that 125 million Americans experience unhealthy levels of pollution, which has been linked to lung cancer, asthma and cardiovascular damage.

“While most of the nation has much cleaner air quality than even a decade ago, many cities reported their highest number of unhealthy days since the report began [18 years ago],” the report read.

The 10 worst cities for short-term particle air pollution were Bakersfield, Calif., Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif., Fresno-Madera, Calif., Modesto-Merced, Calif., Fairbanks, Ala., San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah, Logan, Utah-Idaho, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif. and Reno-Carson City-Fernley, Nev.

California’s air quality issues are a result of a growing population and its numerous valleys that allow polluted air to settle, the report said. The high number of sunny days in Southern California also boost ozone levels, the report said, adding that the state would be in worse shape were it not for strict auto emission regulations as well as limiting coal-fired power plants.

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The cities with the worst year-round particle air pollution were Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif., Bakersfield, Calif., Fresno-Madera, Calif., San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., Modesto-Merced, Calif., El Centro, Calif., Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-W.Va., Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Just six cities recorded no days of unhealthy levels of pollution: Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; Wilmington, N.C.; Fort Myers / Naples, Fla.; Melbourne, Fla., and Elmira, N.Y.

The report said that year-round levels of air pollution have improved, but shorter term spikes of very polluted air have risen.

“Even with continued improvement, too many people in the United States live where the air is unhealthy for them to breathe,” the report said.

The report used data from states, cities, counties, tribes and federal agencies from 2013 to 2015. (VOA)

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Half The Global Population Uses The Internet: ITU Report

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness.

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Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

The International Telecommunication Union reports that for the first time in history, half of the global population is using the internet. A new report finds by the end of the year, 3.9 billion people worldwide will be online.

The report finds access to and use of information and communication technologies around the world is trending upwards. It notes most internet users are in developed countries, with more than 80 percent of their populations online. But it says internet use is steadily growing in developing countries, increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent this year.

The International Telecommunication Union says Africa is the region with the strongest growth, where the percentage of people using the internet has increased from just over two percent in 2005 to nearly 25 percent in 2018.

Somalia, Population
A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. VOA

The lowest growth rates, it says, are in Europe and the Americas, with the lowest usage found in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to data on internet usage, newly released statistics show mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming more predominant. ITU Senior Statistician, Esperanza Magpantay says access to higher speed mobile and fixed broadband also is growing.

“So, there is almost 96 percent of the population who are now covered by mobile population signal of which 90 percent are covered by 3G access. So, this is a high figure, and this helps explain why we have this 51 percent of the population now using the internet,” she said.

With the growth in mobile broadband, Magpantay says there has been an upsurge in the number of people using the internet through their mobile devices.

Nairobi, Population
Young men surf the internet at a cyber cafe on June 20, 2012 in Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness. Unfortunately, it says the cost of accessing telecommunication networks remains too high and unaffordable for many.

Also Read: Global Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

It says prices must be brought down to make the digital economy a reality for the half the world’s people who do not, as yet, use the internet. (VOA)