Friday November 15, 2019
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Orange Alert in Northern China Over Air Pollution Concerns

Chinese authorities announced in July that tax exemptions on purchases of vehicles running on renewables will continue until 2020 to "boost the country's ecological development."

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Effect of Air pollution
Air pollution may also lead to deadly diseases like lung and kidney cancer. Pixabay.

Fearing high amounts of air pollution forecast for Friday, authorities in Chinas northern Hebei province which includes the capital Beijing issued the second-highest level of alert on Wednesday, according to the local environment bureau.

The orange alert is issued when the level of PM 2.5 particles the most harmful kind is expected to remain above 200 on the Air Quality Index for three consecutive days, Efe news reported.

An alert of this level implies a reduction in production for certain industries, as well as the suspension of work in certain construction points. It also results in the prohibition of the circulation of heavy vehicles.

Hebei is located in the heart of the northern plains of China, where smog is common in winter as a result of high concentrations of industrial emissions, limited air circulation and coal burning.

A specific action plan was designed that included the creation of a special agency in that region, where the industrial infrastructure is dominated by chemical industries.

Exposue, Airborne Metal Pollution
Airborne metal pollution is associated with an increased risk of premature death in humans. Pixabay

Liu Youbin, ecology and environment ministry spokesman, said Tuesday at a press conference that “2020 is a key year” to complete the plan, and that “the success of this fall season and winter will be decisive to measure total achievements.”

“There are many tasks planned, more than in the previous two years, which demonstrates the government’s determination to win the fight against pollution,” he said.

However, he warned that winter pollution is “more sensitive,” and that the weather conditions this season are not going to be as favourable as in previous years, when high winds used to help disperse polluting particles.

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Experts such as Lauri Myllyvirta, of international environmental organization Greenpeace, said there has been an effective reduction of pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, but that it has increased in the south of the country, in provinces such as Jiangsu, Anhui, Canton and Fujian.

Chinese authorities announced in July that tax exemptions on purchases of vehicles running on renewables will continue until 2020 to “boost the country’s ecological development.” (IANS)

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Climate Change Would Affect Health Of Indian Children: Lancet

Climate change would hit health of Indian children hard, says study by Lancet

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Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. Pixabay

Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change such as worsening air quality, higher food prices and rise in infectious diseases, warns a new study published in the journal The Lancet.

Climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera is rising three per cent a year in India since the early 1980s, said the report.

“With its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition, few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India,” said study co-author Poornima Prabhakaran from the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India, could soon become the norm,” Prabhakaran said.

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by the fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures.

This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires.

 

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Children in India breathe toxic air and may develop lung diseases. Pixabay

Most countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004 with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding.

India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes, said the report.

“Over the past two decades, the Government of India has launched many initiatives and programmes to address a variety of diseases and risk factors. But this report shows that the public health gains achieved over the past 50 years could soon be reversed by the changing climate,” Prabhakaran said.

The “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” is a yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets — or business as usual — means for human health.

The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, the report warns.

Also Read- Prince Charles Talks Climate Change in India

Nothing short of a 7.4 per cent year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius, said the report. If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4 degree Celsius warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives. (IANS)