Thursday October 18, 2018

Delhi HC seeks comprehensive action plan to curb increasing air pollution

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday, expressing serious concern on the increasing air pollution in the capital “akin to living in a gas chamber“, asked the central and city government to act strongly to curb pollution and present “comprehensive action” plans to combat it.

Saying pollution levels in Delhi have reached “alarming levels”, a division bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva directed them to file comprehensive action plans, saying it is the need of the hour, and termed the plans filed by the union environment ministry and Delhi government “not comprehensive”.

Saying living in such an overpopulated city is similar to “living in a gas chamber”, the bench said: “There must be an action plan along with a timeline and responsibilities of each authority.”

The court posted the matter for December 21.

Acting on an application filed before the bench to provide protective gear or masks to traffic police who are directly exposed to outdoor air pollution all through the day, which has been affecting their health, it asked the department to ensure protective masks be given to them.

The court also said two major causes of air pollution in Delhi were “dust particles” and “vehicular emissions”. It asked the central and Delhi governments to ensure no construction of buildings or roads be carried out in Delhi without first ensuring that generation of dust was minimized.

Both the governments should ensure that there are no construction activities carried out in Delhi without ensuring that dust is minimized,

The Delhi government should ensure that garbage, plastics, and leaves are not burned by people in the open, as was directed by the National Green Tribunal, said the court. It also directed the city administration to publicize in print, audio, and visual media that such practices are prohibited.

Since the SDMs (sub-divisional magistrates) and tehsildars are authorized for a surprise visit to check the construction work with regard to dust generation from construction sites and burning of leaves and garbage, the Delhi government shall file an affidavit on action taken by them,

The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it on the issue of increasing air pollution in the national capital.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:-india.blogs.nytimes.com)

 

 

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Levels of Air Pollution Directly Linked to Oral Cancer: Study

A significant association was also observed for ozone levels below 28.69-30.97 parts per billion

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Air Pollution
Air pollution linked to high risk of oral cancer: Study. Pixabay

Higher levels of air pollution may be linked to a heightened risk of developing oral cancer, which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, a study has found.

While mouth cancers have been associated with smoking, drinking, human papilloma virus, and the chewing of betel quid (“paan”), the study added to this list increased levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and to lesser extent, ozone.

“This study, with a large sample size, is the first to associate oral cancer with PM2.5… These findings add to the growing evidence on the adverse effects of PM2.5 on human health,” said researchers including Shou-Jen Lan, Professor at the Asia University, in Taiwan.

Exposure to heavy metals and emissions from petrochemical plants are also thought to be implicated in the development of the disease while PM2.5 is known to be harmful to respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Previously, high air pollution has been linked to a host of health problems, from an increased risk of dementia to asthma and even changes in the structure of the heart, with recent research suggesting there is no “safe level” of air pollution.

Air Pollution
Air Pollution. pixabay

For the new study, published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, the team discovered the association by looking at air pollution data from 66 air quality monitoring stations in Taiwan, collected in 2009.

They combined this with data from the health records of more than 4,80,000 men aged 40 and over from 2012-13. In total, there were 11,617 cases of mouth cancer among the participants.

They found that men exposed to the highest levels of PM2.5s had an increased risk of mouth cancer.

Compared with men exposed to average annual PM2.5 levels of 26.74 micrograms (µg) per cubic metre (m3) of air, those exposed to concentrations of 40.37 µg/m3 or higher had 43 per cent greater odds of developing the disease.

Air Pollution.
Air pollution may also lead to changes in heart structure. Pixabay

A significant association was also observed for ozone levels below 28.69-30.97 parts per billion.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide per year.

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Around 6,57,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually across the globe, with 3,30,000 of those patients dying, it said. (IANS)