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U.N. sets out massive benefits from air pollution action in Asia

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, 31 October 2018 09:50 AM


FILE PHOTO: Smoke billowing from the steel plant in Tangshan, Hebei Province, China on March 2017 | REUTERS

Asia could reap massive benefits in health, environment, agriculture and economic growth if governments implement 25 policies such as banning the burning of household waste and cutting industrial emissions, according to a U.N. report published on Tuesday (October 30).

Air pollution is a health risk for 4 billion people in Asia, killing about 4 million of them annually, and efforts to tackle the problem are already on track to ensure air pollution is no worse in 2030, but huge advances could be made, the report “Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based solutions” said.

The report’s 25 recommendations would cost an estimated $300 billion-$600 billion annually, a big investment but loose change compared with a projected $12 trillion economic growth increase.

Helena Molin Valdes, head of Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretariat at U.N. Environment, said there was an increasing political openness to taking action on air pollution and the report reflected three years of discussions with governments.

The report estimates its recommendations would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent compared to a baseline scenario, potentially decreasing global warming by one-third of a degree Celsius by 2050, which would also be a contribution in the fight against climate change.

One billion people would enjoy high air quality, while the number exposed to the worst pollution would be cut by 80 percent to 430 million. Premature deaths would fall by a third. — Reuters

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Bangkok officials blast off water streams to tackle hazardous air pollution

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 25 December 2018 03:40 PM

Authorities use water canons to blast off dust particles that cause air pollution in Bangkok. | Photo by Reuters

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) officials used water cannons on Monday (Dec 24) in areas deemed critical in an attempt to catch dust particles blamed for the hazardous air pollution in the capital city this past week.

“The pollution is mainly caused by the construction sites of government infrastructures – the roads and sky trains – at the same time, the private sector is also constructing high rise buildings along those skytrain stations. Secondly, the combustion from the vehicles. We have to admit that we have a lot of cars and traffic jams,” said Deputy Bangkok Governor Taweesak Lerdprapan in Thai.

The concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) dust had eased up on Monday with a 24-hour rolling average of 36-56 micrograms per m3, compared to Friday’s (December 21) average of 114-175 micrograms per m3, according to data provided by the city’s Pollution Control Department.

Authorities have advised Bangkok residents to ‘stay indoors’ and added the situation would get better in the next couple of weeks.

Local residents were seen wearing face masks during their morning commute to protect themselves from the current levels of pollution.

“It’s very hazy and grim these days. I feel that there’s a lot of dust. I usually clean my nose frequently and I can feel that it’s not clean,” said 26-year-old Bangkok Resident Suganya Tuwang.

“Yes, I can feel it (health impact from air pollution). It makes me feel… It causes me to have trouble breathing, so I have to use face mask to protect myself,” exclaimed Chanpen Boonkhuntod, also a resident of Bangkok.

PM 2.5 is a mixture of fine particles that can include dust, dirt, soot and smoke. – REUTERS

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‘Crazy Rich Asians’ part of ‘revolution’ for representation of Asians on screen – star

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, 5 September 2018 10:16 AM


Actress Constance Wu as Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians movie | Courtesy to Warner Bros. via Reuters

Romantic comedy ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ hits UK cinemas on September 14th as the first Hollywood studio film featuring a large Asian cast in 25 years. Its cast hopes it is part of a “revolution” for more representation of Asians on screen.

The romantic comedy tells the story of an Asian-American New Yorker who goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s wealthy and tradition-bound family of Chinese descent is based on the 2013 best-selling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan.

The last Hollywood studio film to feature a large Asian cast was “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993.

Twenty-seven-year-old Londoner and financial services worker of Chinese heritage, Nicola Wong, said on Tuesday (September 4) she grew up seeing few Asian actors on screen.

However with the prospect of viewers getting to see more people of their own ethnicity on the big screen, it could help the next generation “deal with their own personal issues,” she said.

Showing people of different races on screen is important for showing reality, she added.

For actress Jung Lusi, who plays the fiancee of lead character Nick Young’s friend, the film is part of a revolution for Asian actors to play “normal characters.”

“To be standing here as part of that revolution… I can’t believe I’m part of it,” she added.

The U.S. box office saw an August surge partly due to the film’s success. It topped the domestic box office for the third week in a row following its release on August 15, with a cumulative U.S. domestic gross nearing 120 million dollars. — Reuters

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Air pollution kills 7 million people each year, WHO calls for quick change

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 2 May 2018 03:56 PM

A man wearing a respiratory protection mask walks toward an office building during the smog after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing’s central business district, China, December 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, May 1, that air pollution still kills 7 million people each year, almost all of them in poor countries in Asia and Africa, and that 9 out of 10 people on the planet breathe in polluted air, following the release of its latest data on air pollution worldwide.

According to the health institution, about a quarter of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer can be attributed to air pollution.

These numbers have remained unchanged in the past years, with, globally, outdoor air pollution remaining high and largely unchanged, while indoor air pollution has got worse, as people in many poorer countries continue to cook with solid fuel or kerosene, instead of cleaner fuels such as gas and electricity. Women and children are the most at risk.

Director, Dr. Maria Neira of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health said almost half of the global population is “still cooking and heating and lightening their house” with solid fuels and wood which are not very clean fuels” and “this is having a very negative impact on their health.”

“This is something that we need to solve. We need to increase access to clean fuels, clean energy for this very important proportion of our population,” Dr. Neira added.

WHO’s global assessment is based on satellite data and modeling overlaid on the database of more than 4,300 cities, an almost 50% increase compared to WHO last report in 2016, and is self-selecting, because it is based on voluntary reporting, with numbers that have been hugely revised since the previous report.

The World Health Organization plans to organize in October the first Conference on air pollution and Health to speed up change at a global level. – Reuters

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