Polluted air damages every cell and organ in the human body, says a new review by the American College of Chest Physicians. The research confirms that ultrafine particles in the air pass through the lungs and expose virtually all cells in the body to adverse impacts. The study has also linked serious ailments like diabetes, dementia, liver problems, bladder cancer, brittle bones and damaged skin to the impacts of inhaling toxic air.
Air pollution from coal-fired power plants weakening monsoon in Asian countries
A study published in Geophysical Research Letters reveals that the monsoon season, which sustains billions living in India, China, Pakistan, Thailand and other South and South-East Asian countries, is being weakened by high air pollution levels in the region, an unprecedented trend not seen in the past 448 years.
The study analysed tree ring records, also known as ‘proxy’ records for climate history, and precipitation data for the past 80 years, to simulate various factors, and established that the most plausible explanation for the changing monsoon trend is the uptick in aerosol pollution from coal-fired power plants in this region.
Frying, cooking turning homes into ‘toxic boxes’ of polluted air
Case studies in four UK cities, including London, have confirmed that air pollution levels are higher inside the home than outside – turning them into “toxic boxes”. The studies show that everyday activities like cooking and frying increased the average concentration of very fine particulate matter inside the homes by nearly 10 times the average concentrations outside.
Centre asked to file report on remedies taken to stop stubble burning, or face action
India’s green court (NGT) has given a two-week ultimatum to the Ministry of Agriculture to report on remedial action taken against the highly polluting practice of crop burning in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, or the ministry’s top officer should be ready to face action. The move comes after the ministry failed to meet the April 30 deadline to file reports. The NGT also sought updates on exploring options of using paddy as a source of energy in brick kilns and providing farmers mobile apps to hire equipment at cheaper rate.
Toxic petcoke power choking Ahmedabad, green court seeks report
The city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, is battling air pollution because of the industrial use of petcoke and furnace oil to generate power. India’s green court (National Green Tribunal) has ordered a joint panel, comprising members from state and central pollution control boards, to report on measures taken against the use of nearly 8 lakh tonnes of pollutants annually.
Meanwhile, the green court has slapped an interim penalty of Rs17.31 crore on an Indian Oil Corporation Panipat refinery in Haryana, for violation of environmental norms. The verdict was based on a report filed by a joint panel, comprising members of pollution control boards of the Centre and Haryana.
Despite warnings about Varanasi’s poor air
Varanasi has made news not only for being PM Narendra Modi’s constituency, but also for its limited efforts to tackle pollution. While a 2016 report, ‘Varanasi Chokes’ by Indiaspend, CEED and Care4Air had established that the city had no good air days in the year, another report released by Let Me Breathe says that the city’s air pollution mitigation efforts remain on paper.
Air pollution around Beijing increases as coal consumption rises by 13%
The air quality around Beijing deteriorated because of a rise in coal consumption in the months of October and March, when China’s winter air pollution action plan was in force, a Greenpeace analysis of air quality based on government’s data revealed. Air pollution rose in the region – which spans Beijing and 26 surrounding cities – by 6.5% versus the previous year, as coal consumption increased by 13% in the six provinces included in the air pollution control region.