Thursday December 13, 2018

World Bank sets up multi-donor trust to help India battle air pollution

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

According to the Word Health Organization, 2012 witnessed death of an estimated 7 million people only due to indoor and outdoor pollution. To curb this deadly issue, government officials from India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa pledged together to improve people health by eliminating the air pollution.

With an initial total allocation of around $45 million, a new multi-donor trust watched over by World Bank aims at improving air quality in five major urban regions in India, China, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. It is anticipated that the program could contribute greatly towards environmental health conditions for an estimated 150 million people in those cities over the next five years, a World Bank media release said

It also mentioned that Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) program will encourage other countries and cities of Sub-Saharan Africa, and endeavors to reduce land and water pollution.

The PMEH program, backed by a new multi-donor trust fund will support countries to reduce air, land and water pollution levels through pollution management planning. It will also help in generating new knowledge on pollution and its health impacts in urban, rural and marine areas.

Earlier, Paula Caballero, Senior Director, Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank had said, “Improving air quality can be achieved in the face of urbanization when proactive leaders are willing to institute the right policies and investments.”

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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)