Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FROTH AND BUBBLE
Delhi braces for pollution 'airpocalypse' as smog looms
By Jalees ANDRABI
Sonipat, India (AFP) Oct 19, 2017


Pollution killed nine million people in 2015: report
Paris (AFP) Oct 19, 2017 - Pollution claimed the lives of nine million people in 2015, one in every six deaths that year, according to a report published on Friday.

Almost all the deaths, 92 percent, happened in low- and middle-income countries, it said, with air pollution the main culprit, felling 6.5 million people.

Almost half of the total toll came from just two countries -- India and China -- researchers reported in The Lancet medical journal.

In rapidly-industrialising countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kenya, pollution can account for as many as one in four deaths, they added.

"Pollution and related diseases most often affect the world's poor and powerless, and victims are often the vulnerable and the voiceless," said co-author Karti Sandilya of Pure Earth, an anti-pollution NGO.

"As a result, pollution threatens fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, wellbeing, safe work, as well as protections of children and the most vulnerable."

With global welfare losses of about $4.6 trillion (3.9 trillion euros) per year, the economic cost of pollution-related deaths and disease is also concentrated in the developing world.

"Proportionally, low-income countries pay 8.3 percent of their gross national income to pollution-related death and disease, while high-income countries pay 4.5 percent," said the researchers.

Aside from outright poisoning, pollution causes an array of deadly ailments such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The deadliest form, responsible for more than two-thirds of deaths, was air pollution, they added.

- Call to action -

This includes outdoor pollution from factory and car emissions, and indoor pollution from wood, charcoal, coal, dung or crop waste being burnt for heating and cooking.

After water pollution in second place with 1.8 million deaths, "workplace pollution including exposure to toxins and carcinogens was linked to 0.8 million deaths," said the report.

These included the lung disease pneumoconiosis in coal workers, bladder cancer in dye workers, and asbestosis and lung cancer in workers exposed to asbestos.

"Lead pollution was linked to 0.5 million deaths that resulted from high blood pressure, renal failure and cardiovascular disease," said the report.

In a separate comment, The Lancet editors Pamela Das and Richard Horton said the report came at a "worrisome time, when the US government's Environmental Protection Agency, headed by Scott Pruitt, is undermining established environmental regulations."

The latest findings, they added, should serve as a "call to action".

"Pollution is a winnable battle.... Current and future generations deserve a pollution-free world," the pair wrote.

Pruitt announced this month the US would pull out of former president Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.

There was some good news in the report too.

Deaths due to water and household air pollution dropped from 5.9 million in 1990 to 4.2 million in 2015, said the report authors, as poor countries became richer.

On the other hand, deaths from pollution associated with industrial development -- such as outdoor air pollution, chemical and soil pollution, increased from 4.3 million to 5.5 million over the same period.

As Hindus across India celebrate Diwali this week, scientists fear a ban on firecrackers and other emergency anti-pollution measures deployed by authorities may not be enough to prevent a repeat of last year's "airpocalypse" in Delhi.

Each year, as winter descends on the Indian capital, a perfect storm of seasonal crop stubble burning, dense cloud cover and smoke generated by millions of firecrackers used in Diwali celebrations turns Delhi's skies a putrid yellow.

Last year's unprecedented pollution disaster saw heavy smog hover above the capital for weeks, forcing schools to shut as authorities scrambled to contain the crisis.

This time they are taking few chances, as India's environmental watchdog shut down a coal-fired power plant on Wednesday and banned the use of diesel generators in Delhi.

On Delhi's outskirts however, farmers are busy burning crop remnants to clear their land before replanting, and the acrid smoke has already begun to drift south, casting a pall over the world's most polluted capital and leaving millions gasping for breath.

The illegal practice shows no signs of ending, as low-income farmers like Devi say they have no alternative, even if it harms city dwellers miles away.

"We have to burn it. We know this is harmful but what can we do?" Devi, who only gave her last name, told AFP on her farm in Sonipat just 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Delhi.

"We also need to make money for our families," she said, stoking the smouldering stubble and defending the practice for being cost effective and quicker than other methods to clear her less than an acre farmland.

The sharp reek of burning stubble marks the onset of the pollution season in Delhi as air contaminants soar to dangerous levels.

A NASA satellite image taken early October showed widespread fires across India's northern breadbasket, with a thick grey haze streaking toward Delhi and its 20 million inhabitants.

Nearly 35 million tonnes of post-harvest stubble is burnt annually in Haryana and Punjab, two predominantly rural states near Delhi, despite a nationwide ban on the practice since 2015.

- Fight for clean air -

But farmers protest that they alone are not responsible for Delhi's atrocious air, and say they need more support to shift to a different method of farming.

"The farm fires in northern India certainly worsen the pollution situation, but we need alternatives for it to end," said Gufran Beig, chief scientist at state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research.

Government-led efforts -- from shutting brick kilns to limiting cars on the road -- have failed to tackle air pollution, which a US study in February found kills one million people prematurely in India every year.

Last year, levels of PM2.5 -- the fine particles linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart disease -- soared to 778 in the days that followed Diwali, prompting the Supreme Court to warn of a public health emergency.

Levels of PM2.5 between 301 and 500 are classified as "hazardous", while anything over 500 is beyond the official index.

"If there are no remedies, we might see a repeat of last year's situation," Beig said.

On Thursday, levels of PM2.5 pollutants in Delhi were hovering around 200 -- still eight times the World Health Organization's safe limit of 25.

In the run-up to Diwali, the government banned a host of older diesel vehicles, temporarily closed some polluting industries and prohibited the burning of waste material.

The emergency measures followed a controversial Supreme Court ban earlier this month on the sale of firecrackers in Delhi during the festive season.

The move upset some revellers, who enjoy setting off crackers to ring in the season, and fireworks vendors who feel they are being unfairly targeted.

"We also live in the city and know our responsibilities," said Amit Jain, a despondent firecracker vendor in Delhi's old quarter.

"We also want to breathe clean air, but why target firecrackers and not ban cars, industries and construction?" he told AFP.

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Scientists trace path of inland plastic pollution from rivers to oceanw/ll
Washington (UPI) Oct 11, 2017
The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean is much talked about. But where does all that garbage come from? How do plastics from inland cities make their way into the ocean? In setting out to answer those questions, a team of researchers decided to identify 10 rivers around the world where plastic waste mismanagement is most severe. The scientists detailed the 10 biggest plastic poll ... read more

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Mexico quake hit rich and poor alike, but tragedies differ

Thousands still without power in Ireland after freak storm

Risking lives, Mexicans try to salvage belongings after quake

Branson calls for sustainable rebuilding of storm-battered Caribbean

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Understanding rare earth emulsions

Chemical treatment improves quantum dot lasers

Missing link between new topological phases of matter discovered

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Wither heavy storms

Toward efficient high-pressure desalination

Huge spike in global carbon emissions linked to El Nino

Active sieving could improve dialysis and water purification filters

FROTH AND BUBBLE
As ice sheet melts, Greenland's fjords become less salty

Drive for giant new marine sanctuary in Antarctica

Thousands of penguin chicks starve in Antarctica

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Little growth observed in India's methane emissions

India to close colonial-era military farms

Smallscale farmers try to solve Amazon's big problems

Genetically boosting the nutritional value of corn could benefit millions

FROTH AND BUBBLE
WSU researchers document one of planet's largest volcanic eruptions

Lake waves penetrate, disturb the surrounding earth

Is it gonna blow? Measuring volcanic emissions from space

Vietnam braces for more downpours as flood toll hits 72

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Chad extends key conservation area in national park

Rwanda military uses torture to force confessions: HRW

New witness emerges over Rwandan genocide: French legal source

Nigeria: Cooperation 'key' to defeating jihadists

FROTH AND BUBBLE
Genome of a 40,000-year-old man in China reveals region's complex human history

New study suggests that last common ancestor of humans and apes was smaller than thought

World Bank: 1.1 bn people 'invisible', lacking official identity

Duplications of noncoding DNA could help explain human-primate split




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement