Sunday January 19, 2020

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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Air Pollution, Stress Associated with Thought Problems in Kids: Researchers

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function

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Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
Delhi air quality continues to be 'very poor'. VOA

Parents, please take note. Researchers have revealed that kids with elevated exposure to early life stress in the home and increased prenatal exposure to air pollution exhibited heightened symptoms of attention and thought problems.

Early life stress is common in youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who also often live in areas with greater exposure to air pollution, according to the study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

“Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a neurotoxicant common in air pollution, seems to magnify or sustain the effects of early life social and economic stress on mental health in children,” said study first author David Pagliaccio from Columbia University in the US.

“Air pollutants are common in our environment, particularly in cities, and given socioeconomic inequities and environmental injustice, children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances are more likely to experience both life stress and exposure to neurotoxic chemicals,” said senior author Amy Margolis.

Air pollution has negative effects on physical health, and recent work has begun to also show the effects on mental health. Life stress, particularly in early life, is one of the best-known contributors to mental health problems.

This new study examined the combined effects of air pollution and early life stress on school-age children.

According to the researchers data were collected from the CCCEH Mothers and Newborns longitudinal birth cohort study in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx, which includes many participants who self-identify as African American or Dominican.

Mothers wore an air monitoring backpack during the third trimester of pregnancy to measure exposure to air pollutants in their daily lives.

Stress
Stress is increasingly becoming a dreaded phenomenon. Lifetime Stock

When their children were 5 years old, mothers reported on stress in their lives, including neighbourhood quality, material hardship, intimate partner violence, perceived stress, lack of social support, and general distress levels.

Mothers then reported on their child’s psychiatric symptoms at ages 5, 7, 9 and 11.

The combined effect of air pollution and early life stress was seen across several measures of thought and attention problems/ADHD at the age 11.

The effects were also linked to PAH-DNA adducts–a dose-sensitive marker of air pollution exposure.

Also Read: Apple Planning to Release ‘The Banker’ in Theaters This March

The researchers said that PAH and early life stress may serve as a “double hit” on shared biological pathways connected to attention and thought problems.

Stress likely leads to wide-ranging changes in, for example, epigenetic expression, cortisol, inflammation, and brain structure and function.

The mechanism underlying the effects of PAH is still being interrogated; however, alterations in brain structure and function represent possible shared mechanistic pathways, the study said. (IANS)