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Delhi air pollution: 29 red alert days in November

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source: dubeat.com
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New Delhi: Delhi’s air quality was so poor in the month of November this year that according to China’s pollution warning system, 29 days of the 30 would have been termed as ‘red alert’ days.

A red alert is issued in China if there are more than 350 micrograms of coarse particulate matter (PM10) in one cubic metre.

According to Greenpeace India’s analysis of the National Air Quality Index, the period of September to November in Delhi had 33 such days, 29 of which were in November.

While the standard level of PM10 per cubic meter is 100 micrograms, the monitoring station at Anand Vihar recorded the level at 1,433 micrograms earlier in the week. That is a staggering 14 times more than the average level of particulates.

A red alert in China shuts down polluting industries and schools, while vehicular pollution is strictly checked and directives issued. A similar system in India is being called forth by activists.

Greenpeace India campaigner, Sunil Dahiya said, “We have monitoring stations and the data is available on the government’s sites. But, the average citizens are not aware of the data. There is a need for an alarm system.”

India’s own governmental data showed that several cities in North India were in worse shape than Beijing, added Dahiya.

“We can no longer deny that we are in a state of crisis, and equally, that this crisis creates the imperative to come up with policies to put an end to India’s air pollution crisis,” said Dahiya.

Both national and regional plans are required on a long-term basis to truly affect the growing pollution crisis, according to environmentalists. The general population needs to be made aware of the crisis so that a collective effort can come into place.

“The Delhi Government’s car rationing policy and move to shut down power plants will reduce pollution, but we need to move to renewable energy,” added Dahiya.

 

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Exposure To Air Pollution Linked To Breast cancer: Study

Government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures.

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Air pollution shortens life by more than one year in India. Wikimedia Commons

Women working near busy roads are at high risk of developing breast cancer, due to traffic-related air pollution, researchers have warned.

The team, from University of Stirling in Scotland, analysed the case of a woman who developed breast cancer after spending 20 years working as a border guard at the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.

The woman was one of, at least, five other border guards who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other and, at another nearby crossing, a cluster of seven other cases was noted.

Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
India’s Rashtrapati Bhawan, or the Presidential Palace is partly visible due to smog as traffic plies on Rajapth, the ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi. VOA

According to Michael Gilbertson, the findings “infer a causal relationship” between breast cancer and very high exposures to traffic-related air pollution containing mammary carcinogens. A link between nightshift work and cancer was also identified.

“This new research indicates the role of traffic-related air pollution in contributing to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the general population,” Gilbertson said.

The group of women all developed a cancer believed to have been caused by exhaust fumes in what researchers have branded a ‘new occupational disease’.

There is a one in 10,000 chance the cases were a coincidence, the study published in the journal New Solutions said, because the cancers were all so similar and close together.

air pollution, breast cancer
Breast cancer cell, Wikimedia Commons

A review of previous research confirmed that BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes — which try to stop tumours growing — can be “silenced” by exposures to dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – both found in exhaust fumes.

BRCA2 gets rapidly degraded in the presence of aldehydes – also components of exhaust fumes.

Also Read: Chemotherapy May Not Be Needed To Treat Breast Cancer: Study

“There is much more research to be undertaken,” Gilbertson said. “But we now have plausible mechanisms for inferring how the BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors in this highly-exposed border guard became dysfunctional and likely contributed to the ongoing epidemic of sporadic, early onset, premenopausal breast cancer among her colleagues.

“With this new knowledge, industry and government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures to traffic-related air pollution,” Gilbertson said. (IANS)