Friday December 14, 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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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, asia
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)