Earth Science News  





. Lethal air pollution booms in emerging nations

Half of the world's population now live in urban areas, and the proportion is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2030, according to the United Nations.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) March 22, 2009
International experts are warning that potentially lethal air pollution has boomed in fast-growing big cities in Asia and South America in recent decades.

While Europe has managed to drastically cut some, but not all, of the most noxious pollutants over the past 20 years, emerging nations experienced the opposite trend with their fast economic growth, scientists at the UN's meteorological agency said.

Their comments came ahead of World Meteorological Day on Monday, which this year has the theme "The Air We Breathe".

The World Health Organization estimates that about two million people die prematurely every year as a result of air pollution, while many more suffer from breathing ailments, heart disease, lung infections and even cancer.

Fine particles or microscopic dust from coal or wood fires and unfiltered diesel engines are rated as one of the most lethal forms or air pollution caused by industry, transport, household heating, cooking and ageing coal or oil-fired power stations.

In 2005, the WHO estimated that deaths rates in cities with higher particle pollution were 15 to 20 percent above those found in cleaner cities.

"Particulate matter is of great concern in cities," said Liisa Jalkanen, atmospheric environment research chief at the World Meteorological Organisation.

"In Asia many cities such as Karachi, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dacca, Shanghai, Beijing, and Mumbai they exceed all the limits."

"Also several cities in South America such as Lima, Santiago, Bogota. The worst city in Africa is Cairo," she told journalists.

Half of the world's population now live in urban areas, and the proportion is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2030, according to the United Nations.

The WMO says more resources are needed for a global air monitoring network it runs with national weather offices.

Len Barrie, director of WMO research, said restrictions set up in Europe after concern about acid rain emerged in the 1980s have cut concentrations of another pollutant, sulphur dioxide, there "by a factor of 20".

"In other areas where economic growth has leapt forward, such as Asia, China, India, the opposite is true," he added. In North America levels were largely kept in check.

But Barrie told AFP that such pollution in China appeared to be reaching its peak.

"There's a real awakening in China on the economic benefits of reducing air pollution," he added.

Attempts are being made to bring developing and emerging nations, as well as the United States, into a new global warming pact in Copenhagen in December.

While such curbs on carbon emissions can have a substantial impact on overall air pollution, they may not tackle it completely.

Levels of another harmful pollutant, nitrogen dioxide, from vehicle traffic have not decreased in Europe by as much as the WMO expected, while the impact of weather patterns on pollution is also a concern.

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Hong Kong moves to send plastic bags packing
Hong Kong (AFP) March 17, 2009
Brian Pemberton is trying to help Hong Kong beat its looming waste crisis -- one rice sack at a time.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • China chemical factory cave-in kills 11: state media
  • Australian navy helps oil spill efforts
  • Lessons From Hurricane Rita Not Practiced During Ike
  • Main Federal Disaster Relief Law Has Fallen Behind Modern Threat Levels

  • Tokyo declares cherry blossom season open
  • Phytoplankton Is Changing Along The Antarctic Peninsula
  • China says US could hold up climate deal
  • China appeals to exclude exports in climate deal

  • India Set To Launch Imaging Satellite With Israeli Support
  • Nuclear technology tracks Caribbean pollution
  • SciSys Software Sees Cyber Model Of GOCE Turn Into Orbital Model
  • New Aerosol Observing Technique Turns Gray Skies To Blue

  • Analysis: Tankers threaten Turkish Straits
  • Total plans new projects in China: state media
  • Nigeria to halt gas flaring by 2010-2011: minister
  • Analysis: Angolan oil capacity at 2.1M bpd

  • Drug-resistant TB on the rise in Asia: WHO
  • China seeks volunteers for AIDS vaccine trials: report
  • US group funds AIDS, TB research center in SAfrica
  • AIDS threatens African governments: study

  • Animal activists slam plans for Malaysian tiger park
  • Preserved Shark Fossil Adds Evidence To Great White's Origins
  • Australian zoo condemned for shooting lion
  • Putin Bans Russian Baby Seal Hunts

  • Lethal air pollution booms in emerging nations
  • Hong Kong moves to send plastic bags packing
  • Oil spill ship's owners misled us: Australian authorities
  • Australian oil spill '10 times worse' than thought: official

  • Mind-Reading Experiment Highlights How Brain Records Memories
  • 'Peking Man' 200,000 years older than thought: study
  • Girl has six organs removed in surgery
  • Swedish chimp plans ahead for attacks

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal 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. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement