Friday March 22, 2019

Air Pollution ‘Largest Environmental Risk to Public Health in UK’: Report

Cosford said a key challenge was the commonly held view that actions to reduce air pollution run counter to economic growth and development

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Chinese censors have erased online debate over US-China trade negotiations as the two countries appeared to back away from a trade war.

Public Health England (PHE) has put forward a series of recommendations aimed at reducing the 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year in Britain attributed to long-term exposure to polluted air.

One recommendation in the 250-page PHE report published here on Monday was for town and city councils to be given powers to implement no-idling zones to stop people leaving their car engines running while waiting outside schools, hospitals and care homes.

Another proposal would see low-emission or clean air zones to discourage the most highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas, Xinhua news agency reported.

The report said that air pollution was the biggest environmental threat to health in Britain with strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, lung cancer and exacerbates asthma.

“The evidence is clear on the scale of harm from air pollution. It is the largest environmental risk to the public’s health in the UK,” warned the report.

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A man rides his bicycle in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018 (Representational image). VOA

“People are exposed to outdoor air pollution in the places where they live, work and spend their leisure time. Whilst there are opportunities for individuals to reduce their personal exposure, or that of their children, these are limited,” it said.

The document said that public spaces should be redesigned so people aren’t so close to highly polluting roads by making streets wider or using green hedges to screen against pollutants. There should also be more investment in clean public transport, footpaths and cycle paths.

Professor Paul Cosford, PHE’s Medical Director, said: “Action is needed at all levels to address this unacceptable, serious and avoidable source of harm to our health. We all have a role to play in helping to make sure that the air that we, and future generations, breathe is clean air.”

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Cosford said a key challenge was the commonly held view that actions to reduce air pollution run counter to economic growth and development.

In January, the British government announced a “Clean Air Strategy” setting out plans to meet ambitious legally binding international targets to reduce emission of the five most damaging air pollutants by 2030. It will be followed by a wider Environment Bill. (IANS)

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Experts Around Globe Share Ways To Combat Air Pollution

"India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact." Pixabay

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The three-day workshop, organised by the North India Office of the US Embassy in collaboration with not-for-profit RTI International, is aimed at sharing the US best practices in combating air pollution to reduce emissions of fine-particulate matter and other pollutants in North India. Pixabay

Indian and American experts will chalk out strategies to combat air pollution caused by crop burning, vehicular emission and construction dust at a workshop that began, here on Thursday.

The three-day workshop, organised by the North India Office of the US Embassy in collaboration with not-for-profit RTI International, is aimed at sharing the US best practices in combating air pollution to reduce emissions of fine-particulate matter and other pollutants in North India.

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“Based on the 2016 Global Burden of Disease estimates, about 1.6 million deaths per year in India have been attributed to air pollution,” the release quoted him as saying. Pixabay

It will focus on strategies to minimise emissions, behavioural changes for accepting new alternatives, adoption of tools for estimation of emissions and air quality impacts, enhancing involvement of the private sector and the public as part of the change and developing an integrated regulatory approach.

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“India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact.” Pixabay

Prakash Doraiswamy, Principal Air Quality Scientist at RTI International, said several north Indian cities rank among the top 25 cities in the world with fine particle (PM 2.5) concentrations 10-17 times higher than World Health Organisation’s guidelines, as per the World Global Ambient Air Quality Database (2018).

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“Based on the 2016 Global Burden of Disease estimates, about 1.6 million deaths per year in India have been attributed to air pollution,” the release quoted him as saying.

“India needs to initiate and implement strategies to tackle the deadly air pollution. The need is to adopt an integrated approach with solutions that provide real impact,” he said.  (IANS)