Monday December 10, 2018

Mornings are worst air pollution times in Delhi and other major cities

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A view of Delhi: Wikimedia Commons
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If you think mornings are the best time for outdoor exercise, you’re wrong.

Mornings experience the worst air pollution in four Indian cities, according to an analysis of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 data from IndiaSpend’s #Breathe air-quality sensors in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai between March 15 to April 15 2016.

Delhi: Best air quality —4 pm

Mornings were the worst time, with PM 2.5 levels reaching as high as 108.16 µg/m3 at 7 am. Air quality gradually improved as the day wore on, registering the cleanest air at 4 pm. (22.84 µg/m3). Pollution levels then picked up through the night.

Delhi topped the list of the world’s most-polluted cities, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Bengaluru: Best air quality–midnight

The worst air was at 7 am, as PM 2.5 concentrations peaked at 61.54 micrograms per cubic metre of air (µg/m3). The air quality improved as the day wore on, worsening by evening at about 5 pm, reaching a late-evening high at 7 pm (57.60 µg/m3). The best air quality was registered around midnight, when PM 2.5 levels fell as low to 40.12 µg/m3.

Chennai: Best air quality—3 pm

The worst air was at 7 am, with PM 2.5 levels (61.54 µg/m3) reached their peak. Levels began to peak over the night and slide during the day, after 7 am. The best air quality was recorded in the afternoon, at 3 pm, with PM 2.5 levels reaching as low as 20.76 µg/m3.

 

Mumbai: Best air quality—5 pm

The worst hour for a Mumbaikar is 8 am, with PM 2.5 levels reaching 48.61 µg/m3; the air started to worsen after 5 am. The best air quality was registered at 5 pm, when PM 2.5 levels were 22.38 µg/m3.

Outdoor air pollution causes 670,000 deaths annually in India, according to a 2014 research paper from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Air pollution has become a global concern with rising air pollution levels, as outdoor air pollution in cities and rural areas across the world estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012, according to the WHO.

Particulate matter is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. These are classified according to their diameter. Particles less than 2.5 µm (micrometres) are called PM 2.5. They are approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair. Particles between 2.5 to 10 µm in diameter are called PM 10.

PM 10 and PM 2.5 include inhalable particles that are small enough to penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system. The health effects of inhalable PM are well documented, caused by exposure over both the short-term (hours, days) and long-term (months, years). They include: Respiratory and cardiovascular morbidity such as aggravation of asthma, respiratory symptoms, and an increase in hospital admissions; and mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and from lung cancer.

There is good evidence of the effects of short-term exposure to PM 10 on respiratory health, but for mortality, and especially as a consequence of long-term exposure, PM 2.5 is a stronger risk factor than the coarse part of PM 10.

There is a close relationship between exposure to high concentrations of small particulates (PM 10 and PM 2.5) and increased mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular/respiratory diseases and cancer, both daily and over time, according to the WHO.

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. The views expressed are those of India Spend. Feebback at respond@indiaspend.org)

–IANS/IndiaSpend

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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

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Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)