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Beijing issues first major smog alert of winter

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Vehicles using lights travel on a bridge amid heavy smog after the city issued its first ever ”red alert” for air pollution, in Beijing, China, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

China’s capital Beijing imposed stringent measures to curb output of heavy industry as plunging temperatures spurred heating demand.

This, after Beijing, issued its first major smog alert of the winter for the capital.

The orange alert issued on January 11, the second-highest on China’s four-level system, comes after Beijing was reported to have made big improvements in air quality last year as industrial activity shifted away from the capital.

The ministry of environmental protection warned in a statement that heavy air pollution would envelop Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and the surrounding area from Friday until January 17.

“I think it has greater impact on the lungs of old people and kids. For example, if an old person has chronic bronchitis, he [she] must react violently when he [she] come outside in the weather like this. about the kids, they are so little bodily still not fully developed, and that is why it has greater impact on them too,” said Yang Lilin, a local who works in Beijing.

The capital has been largely spared the notoriously bad air that typically blankets the north during the colder winter months when people crank up the heat in their homes in part to the government’s stringent anti-smog measures, including curbing factory output and banning coal burning in homes.

But this alert comes a month after the government was forced to reverse its ban on coal for heating as gas shortages left people freezing and after a prolonged bout of freezing weather across the north. — Reuters

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Poor air quality in India’s capital triggers health concerns

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

New Delhi in smog | REUTERS

Pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are over 50 times more than the allowed limits, raising people’s concerns over health especially for children.

Four-year-old Avyan suffers from severe wheezing and chest infections, which often leading to multiple hospitalizations. Although he is under the protection of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks, his mother still worries about his health condition because the pollution in the city shows no sign of improving.

“Whenever I put a mask on him for doing the nebulizer, every time some part of me inside me cries. Because once I am pumping him with all those strong medicines, just to manage those symptoms, the other is his body really needs that to survive in this environment. So we would want him to have a very nice happy healthy childhood, but it’s sad that we are not able to give him that, just because we’re in a place which has so much of pollution,” said Anchal Garg Karanth, mother of Avyan.

Recent studies have shown that one in every three children in Delhi has impaired lung function according to the Center of Science and Environment. Doctors also say newborn babies in Delhi take in gulps of polluted air equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes on the first day of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 children died below the age of five due to the air pollution in India in 2016, which is the record high in the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to bad air because they breathe more rapidly than adults and absorb twice as many pollutants.

“If you are not oxygenating very well, your cognitive function in terms of behavior, intelligence, has a major impact, especially if it happens in the younger years because that is when the neurological system is really developing. Other than that, any chronic lung issue can impact the cardiovascular system as well,” said Anupama Gupta, a pediatrician.

Delhi’s smog is said to be a toxic mix of vehicular pollution, construction dust, and fumes from crops burnt by farmers in neighboring states. This year, the Delhi government banned all construction, digging and excavation work when the pollution levels started rising. The government might also act by taking private cars off of Delhi’s roads if pollution levels deteriorate further.

“In emergency response, you are not really solving the problem, but what you are doing is you are stopping from adding more where the situation is already very bad. But the more fundamental solution will come when you are doing a round-the-year plan and with stringent implementation of that plan,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhary, an environmentalist.

The Indian government is currently working on a national clean air plan and has suggested it aims to reduce air pollution by 30 percent in the next five years. — Reuters

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EU lawmakers move to ban throw-away plastics

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2018

 

Plastic along a coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

European Union lawmakers moved on Wednesday (October 24) to ban widely-used, throw-away plastics such as straws and cotton buds, and put a greater burden on manufacturers to recycle in an effort to clear up ocean pollution.

Under the proposal, overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament, 10 single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives would be banned by 2021. EU states would be obliged to recycle 90 percent of plastic bottles by 2025 and producers to help cover the costs of waste management.

EU lawmaker Frederique Ries, a Belgian liberal who is representing the parliament in negotiations with EU governments, told reporters after the vote that most of the alternatives to the products to be banned were European and not expensive.

The EU recycles only a quarter of the 25 million tonnes of plastics waste it produces per year.

China’s decision to stop processing waste coupled with growing alarm over damage to oceans has pushed the continent to end reliance on developing countries to deal with its waste. Regulators hope the new rules will lead to a drop in the price of recycled plastics.

The EU’s final rules still need to be approved in talks with member states – some of which have balked at the curbs, worried they will be too difficult to implement for the industry. — Reuters

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Benguet sets Thursday as ‘car-less’ day beginning May

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 12th, 2018

La Trinidad, Benguet Mayor Romeo Salda

MANILA, Philippines — La Trinidad, Benguet Mayor Romeo Salda has signed the Executive Order No. 05-2018 which declares Thursdays a “car-less” day.

This serves as support to the government’s efforts to curb chemical emissions of motor vehicles.

“Six a.m. to 6 p.m. walang papasok na sasakyan from the premises ng munisipyo, yung sa PNP entrance ng papunta dito at parking space ng munisipyo,” said the mayor.

(From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. no vehicles will be allowed from the premises of the city hall to the PNP entrance and parking spaces at the city hall.)

Larry Mercado, a motorist, approves the directive saying, “Opo payag po tayo diyan. Ganyang lumalabas na kautusan para sa kalikasan po natin mabawasan yung pollution. Yun lang po sana po magmaterialize yang kautusan na yan.”

(Yes I agree with it. Such ordinances is for the environment to reduce pollution. Hopefully this order will materialize.)

Meanwhile, vehicles used by persons with disability and senior citizens are exempted from the executive order.

The order also excludes trading post roads used when transporting produce.

Mayor Salda urged barangay captains in the city to implement the said order in their respective barangays.  — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

 

 

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