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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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Curbing climate change could save millions of lives – WHO

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: The World Health Organization (WHO) logo is pictured at the entrance of its headquarters in Geneva, January 25, 2015. REUTERS/PIERRE ALBOUY

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday (December 5) that mitigating climate change would save millions of lives at a global level.

According to WHO, exposure to pollution results in seven million deaths every year. The organization says climate change affects a number of diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, lung cancer, stroke or ischemic heart diseases.

Speaking during COP24, United Nations talks on climate change in Katowice, Poland, WHO’s head of environmental determinants of health, Maria Neira said a number of pulmonary and heart diseases caused by pollution were not included in decision-making processes and documents related to climate change.

Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, a team leader for climate change and health with WHO, added that health benefits of meeting the 2 Degree C Goal, which aims to cap a rise in average surface temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), are approximately twice the value of what it would cost to implement that mitigation at the global level.

COP24 talks are billed as the most important U.N. conference since the landmark Paris 2015 deal on climate change. Over the next two weeks, the aim is to make an end-of-year deadline for agreeing on a rule book on how to enforce global action to limit further warming of the planet. — Reuters

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People worried as China’s capital blanket by pollution

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2018

A building in smog in Beijing, China | REUTERS

A total of 79 Chinese cities have triggered air pollution alerts as severe winter smog covers wide swaths of the country, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday (December 1).

China’s capital Beijing issued its first air pollution alert for the winter season on Nov. 23, and it has again issued a yellow alert, the third-highest in its pollution warning system from Saturday (December 1).

Beijing was visibly clouded in smog on Sunday (December 2), and residents were not happy, but many seem resigned to the constant recurrence.

As of Nov.30, five cities had issued red pollution warnings, the most severe in China’s pollution warning system, 73 had issued orange warnings, the second-most severe, and on issued yellow, triggering the implementation of emergency management and control measures, Xinhua reported.

China has taken steps to broaden its campaign against air pollution, including extending a monthly air quality ranking to 169 cities from 74 to pressure local authorities to clean up dirty skies. — Reuters

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India bus accident kills 10, injures 46

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

 

Bus wreckage | REUTERS

Ten people died and 46 were injured after a bus drove off a bridge in India’s eastern state of Odisha on Tuesday (November 20) evening, according to police.

Survivors told medical volunteers that a buffalo in the road caused the driver to lose control, plunging the bus 30 feet into a dry river bed near the city of Cuttack.

Locals and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force teams worked with fire brigade personnel to begin rescue operations and take the wounded to a nearby hospital.

Deadly road accidents are common in India. According to government data, road accidents claimed 17 lives per hour in 2016. — Reuters

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