The stations will monitor PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations, as well as levels of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and ozone. Photo: Air pollution monitoring station sensors by brewbooks/Wikimedia Commons

Maharashtra to install 50 continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) invited bids to set up 50 Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) in 36 different locations. in the state, including Thane, Ulhasnagar, Nanded, Beed, Gondia, Nandurbar, Satara, Hingoli, Buldhana, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. The municipal corporations of Thane, Vasai-Virar and Kalyan-Dombivali will get three monitoring stations each, the report said.

The stations will monitor PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations, as well as levels of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ammonia and ozone. They will also measure wind direction, wind speed, ambient temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation and rainfall. The selected bidder will be responsible for operations and maintenance of the stations for a period of five years, with a possibility of a further three-year extension. The bidder will have to maintain a data display system showing the air quality index and share the data with the MPCB and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on a daily basis.

Air pollution causes anxiety, Delhi health department confirms NGT’s suo motu query

In a reply to green court (NGT: national green tribunal), the Delhi health department said while air pollution impacts mental health, causing anxiety and other problems, more India-centric studies were needed.

The tribunal had asked suo motu on the matter based on the TOI news titled “Feeling anxious? Toxic air could be to blame.” The Delhi government quoted several studies stating how adversely pollution impacts mental health. It sought more India-oriented research, TOI reported.

The Delhi government told the green court: “In India, where rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have led to increased pollution, understanding mental health implications is particularly crucial…. Exposure to various (types of) environmental pollution, including air pollutants, heavy metals, and noise pollution, is associated with an increase in mental health disorders, such as anxiety, mood, and psychotic syndrome, with both direct biological effects and stress related impacts.” 

Fossil fuel industry biggest source of air-pollution-related diseases in Africa: Study

Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa have emerged as Africa’s most polluted countries in terms of air pollution-related diseases, and the fossil fuel industry is the top source of pollution, a report prepared by Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace MENA revealed.

Around 1.1 million premature deaths have been linked to air pollution annually in Africa. 

Researcher Dr Aidan Farrow said data from satellites and even fuel sales in each country allowed scientists to investigate emission sources. Areas like Mpumalanga in South Africa, where coal burning for electricity is a major industry, really stand out.

Key findings compiled by the report include—air pollution is the second-leading risk factor for death in Africa. Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa consistently exhibit large disease burdens, with the highest mortality linked to fossil fuel air pollution in these nations.

Six of the world’s 10 largest NO2 emission hotspots identified were found in Africa—all in South Africa. Two of the world’s 10 largest SO2 emission hotspots identified are in South Africa. Of the ten largest SO2 point sources identified in Africa, nine are thermal power stations. Four of the power plants are located in South Africa owned by Eskom, two in Morocco and Egypt, and one in Zimbabwe.

World produced 62 billion kg e-waste in 2022, will rise to 82 billion kg by 2030: UN

According to a new study, the industry produced 62 billion kg of electronic waste (e-waste) in 2022, which may rise to 82 billion kg in 2030. “Solution for all e-waste issues is still not to generate any e-waste in the first place,” the Global E-waste Monitor 2024, study backed by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Fondation Carmignac, a corporate foundation, stated.

Of this 62 billion, 13.8 billion kg is documented as ‘formally collected and recycled in an environmentally sound manner’, according to the UN report. Around 16 billion kg is estimated to be collected and recycled outside of formal systems in high- and upper-middle-income countries with developed e-waste management infrastructure. Around 18 billion kg is handled mostly by the informal sector in low- and lower-middle-income countries, with no developed e-waste management infrastructure.

The remaining 14 billion kg is likely disposed of as residual waste, the majority of which is put in landfills worldwide. The 62 billion kg of e-waste contained 31 billion kg of metals, 17 billion kg of plastics and 14 billion kg of other materials (minerals, glass, composite materials, etc.).

A whopping 58,000 kg of mercury and 45 million kg of plastics containing brominated flame retardants are released into the environment every year. Asia generates almost half of the world’s e-waste (30 billion kg), Europe (17.6 billion kg), Oceania (16.1 billion kg) and the Americas (14.1 billion kg) generated the highest amount of e-waste per capita in 2022.

Washing rice with arsenic-contaminated water poses a health risk? 

Rice has more arsenic than other grains; washing or boiling it with arsenic-contaminated water poses significant health risks, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Food at the University of Sheffield. The study found countries that do not adhere to the current World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended limits on the levels of arsenic in water are putting around 32% of the global population—particularly those from low and middle-income countries—at risk of serious health issues.

Many countries worldwide still use the outdated WHO limit (50 µg L-1 or parts per billion) for inorganic arsenic in water introduced in 1963, including several Asian countries such as China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and Nepal, where rice is the main staple food, the study said. According to Indian research, arsenic pollution has also entered the India water table.

Long-term exposure to arsenic in water used for drinking, food preparation or irrigation of crops can cause a range of health issues affecting every organ in the body, such as cancer, diabetes and pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases.

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