Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Home Climate WHO says air pollution kills 7 million/year, toughens guidelines - Times of...

WHO says air pollution kills 7 million/year, toughens guidelines – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Aiming to save people from the ill-effects of air pollution, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Wednesday released its revised air quality guidelines for six key pollutants, including extremely hazardous particulate matters — PM2.5 and PM10 — making them more stringent compared with the earlier standards set in 2005.
India is currently working on revising its air quality standards that were last updated in 2009. They are set to be released next year.
Over seven million deaths worldwide annually are currently linked to exposure to these pollutants, WHO said.

The new standards will mean 90% of the global population and nearly 100% of people in south Asia live in areas that exceed the pollution threshold. Though these air quality guidelines (AQG) are not legally binding for countries, they may help them come out with their respective benchmarks while factoring in meteorological and topographical elements.
“I urge all countries to put these guidelines to use, save lives, support healthy communities and help address the climate crisis,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The WHO claimed that “around 80% of deaths attributed to PM2.5 exposure in the world could be avoided if countries attain the annual AQG level for PM2.5”. Among all classical pollutants, inhalable PM2.5 is considered the most hazardous as it gets deposited in lungs through breathing and causes serious respiratory problems.
India is also expected to make these standards stringent through its update. Though it may not be at the level of WHO standards, experts expect it to be, at least, closer to the global standards.
“Air pollution is a severe health crisis and WHO’s revised air quality guidelines bring back focus to the issue. There are no two ways about the need for revising India’s air quality standards to make them more stringent. Even at the current relaxed standard of 40 ug/m3 for annual PM2.5 averages in India vs WHO’s 2005 annual limit of 10 ug/m3, most Indian cities failed to meet even those levels,” said S N Tripathi, professor at IIT Kanpur and steering committee member of the country’s national clean air programme (NCAP).
Tripathi, at the same time, called for strengthening India’s health data. He said, “Raw health data is required to conduct a large range of health studies vis-a-vis air pollution impacts for India’s varied demography, exposure and differing PM2.5 composition. A single exposure prevention response will not suit the Indian population.” Under NCAP, India has a target to reduce 20-30% of PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations by 2024 from 2017 levels.
The release of the guidelines ahead of the 26 th session of the UN climate conference (COP26) assumes significance in view of the ongoing momentum to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) substantially to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement. The Conference is scheduled to be held in Glasgow, UK in November.
Some air pollutants – particularly black carbon (a component of PM) and tropospheric (ground-level) Ozone – are also short-lived climate pollutants, which are linked with both health effects and near-term warming of the planet.
Since they persist in the atmosphere for as little as a few days or months and their reduction has co-benefits not just for health but also for the climate, the WHO said, “Almost all efforts to improve air quality can enhance climate change mitigation, and climate change mitigation efforts can, in turn, improve air quality. Notably, reduction or phase-out of fossil and biomass fuel combustion will reduce GHG emissions as well as health relevant air pollutants.”





Source link

RELATED ARTICLES

Greenhouse gas concentrations hit a new record in 2020: UN

The World Meteorological Organisation reported Monday that greenhouse gas concentrations hit a new record high last year and increased at a faster rate...

greenhouse: Greenhouse gas levels reach new record high: UN – Times of India

GENEVA: Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached new record levels last year, the United Nations said Monday in a stark warning ahead...

Explained: What are the economic stakes of climate change?

COP26 climate talks in Glasgow starting next Sunday may be the world’s best last chance to cap global warming at the 1.5-2 degrees...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Rafael Nadal ready for Roland Garros despite injury issues

Nadal had said last week that daily training was a challenge and he would take a doctor with him to Paris after a...

Saha, Shami picked in Bengal Ranji squad for quarter-final

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) also named fast bowler Mohammed Shami in the squad. However, his participation will need a clearance from...

LSG skipper K L Rahul: Nothing comes easy, we had to learn that the hard way

Lucknow Super Giants needed a win against Rajasthan Royals to book its berth in the Indian Premier League playoffs. But a 24-run defeat...

This is as big as it gets in Indian sport: Pullela Gopichand

Pullela Gopichand delivered one of India’s great sporting moments as a player, winning the All England title in 2001. As chief national coach,...

Recent Comments