Wednesday July 18, 2018

Kejriwal leads ‘Car Free Day’; pollution level drops by 60%

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The city witnessed a 60 per cent drop in the air pollution on the first Car Free Day, said a report released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday.

The car-free initiative as well as the low traffic load on Dussehra has helped lower the pollution levels and toxic exposure in the city.

“Today (Thursday), the air particulate matter (PM 2.5) was 265 micrograms per cubic metre (cu m) in comparison to a normal day, when the particulate normally was 689 micrograms per cu m,” said the report released on Thursday evening.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when its levels in the air are high.

PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee too has supported the CSE report and has observed overall drop of 45 percent in PM2.5 level in the city.

The car-free day in Delhi was observed on the stretch between Red Fort and India Gate with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leading a cycle rally in the morning.

“This initiative of the Delhi government has only helped to prove how the growing car numbers in the city aggravate toxic pollution. If these numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), CSE.

The exposure monitoring on the road was carried out by CSE first on October 21, a regular day, and during the car-free event on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to social media to share the impact of car free day, saying we need to reduce traffic.

In the series of tweets, he said: “Almost 60 percent reduction in pollution noted on that road. It means traffic is main culprit. We have to reduce traffic.”

“Comfortable, reliable, accessible public transport system and better designed roads is the key. I’ll personally work on this,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year

Nearly 10 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 per cent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause

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Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year
Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year. Pixabay

Outdoor air pollution even at levels deemed safe may be associated with an increased risk of diabetes globally, with India being at a greater risk due to lack of air cleaning policies, scientists said in a report in Lancet.

The findings showed that air pollution contributes to development of diabetes by reducing insulin production and triggering inflammation, which prevents the body from converting blood glucose into energy that the body needs.

The overall risk of pollution-related diabetes is tilted more toward lower-income countries such as India that lack the resources for environmental mitigation systems and clean-air policies, Lancet Planetary Health report said.

“Our research shows a significant link between air pollution and diabetes globally,” said Ziyad Al-Aly, from the University of Washington in St. Louis, US.

“We found an increased risk, even at low levels of air pollution currently considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This is important because many industry lobbying groups argue that current levels are too stringent and should be relaxed. Evidence shows that current levels are still not sufficiently safe and need to be tightened,” Aly explained.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers estimated that pollution contributed to a little more than three million new diabetes cases globally in 2016, which represented about 14 per cent of all new diabetes cases globally that year.

Nearly 10 million years of healthy life were lost in 2016 due to pollution-linked diabetes, representing about 14 per cent of all years of healthy life lost due to diabetes from any cause.

According to the UN 2018 Sustainable Development Goals Report, an estimated 4.2 million people died as a result of high levels of ambient air pollution.

Also Read: Eat Walnuts to Ward off Diabetes Risk

In the study, the team analysed data from more than one million participants without a history of diabetes, who were followed for a median of eight and a half years.

They also looked at particulate matters, airborne microscopic pieces of dust, dirt, smoke, soot and liquid droplets.

Poverty-stricken countries facing a higher diabetes-pollution risk include Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Guyana, while richer countries such as France, Finland and Iceland experience a lower risk, the study said. (IANS)