Thursday, October 17, 2013

Air Pollution Causes Lung Cancer and Kills 223,000 People Every Year (WHO)

The air many of us breathe poses serious health risks, the World Health Organization says. On Thursday, it added cancer to the list.

Full article on CNN.
Air pollution is a now officially a carcinogen, and there are no caveats about the new classification.

"We know that it is causing cancer in humans," said spokesman Kurt Straif.

In 2010, lung cancer resulting from air pollution took the lives of 223,000 people worldwide. As pollution levels climb, so will the rate of cancer, the WHO said.

And there is only one way to stop it: Clean up the air.

"We can't treat ourselves out of this cancer problem," said Chris Wild, who heads the WHO's cancer research wing, the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Cleaner air would also have other health benefits. Air pollution increases the risk of bladder cancer, the IARC said. It has been known for a while that it contributes to heart disease and respiratory ailments.

The problem is global, but people in developing countries with large populations and booming manufacturing sectors with few pollution controls are said to be particularly at risk.

"The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution are transportation, stationary power generation, industrial and agricultural emissions, and residential heating and cooking," the IARC said.
Outdoor dust can also contribute to cancer.

The agency decided upon the official classification of outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic after reviewing the latest scientific writings and coming to the conclusion that the evidence was ample.

The classification is an important step, said Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the IARC.

"There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay."

The IARC called air pollution the most widespread environmental carcinogen and the worst.

Air Pollution News and Alerts - October 17th, 2013

World News Corporation, October 17th, 2013
Leading Corporations Join Forces to Tackle Freight Emissions in Asia.

Xinhua Net, October 17th, 2013
CMA sets up a special center for environmental meteorology.

Global Post, October 17th, 2013
Beijing to impose odd-even car ban in heavy pollution.

Xinhua Net, October 17th, 2013
Beijing to reduce traffic during serious pollution.

Times of India, October 15th, 2013
Air pollution on the rise in Kerala.

New York Times, October 15th, 2013
Bulgaria’s Air Is Dirtiest in Europe, Followed by Poland.

BBC, October 15th, 2013
Air pollution 'still harming Europeans' health'.

Information Daily, October 15th, 2013
Exposure to pollution proven to cause low birthweight in babies.

New Scientist, October 15th, 2013
Nine in 10 European city dwellers breathe bad air.

Khaleej Times, October 15th, 2013
Wood fires and diesel cars pose pollution threat.

Environmental Defense Fund, October 15th, 2013
The Case for Clean Air Comes to the Supreme Court.

Washington Post, October 15th, 2013
Supreme Court to review EPA rules on curbing global warming gases from factories, power plants.

The Guardian, October 15th, 2013
More than 90% of people in European cities breathe dangerous air.

China Digital Times, October 14th, 2013
China To Give Rewards for Curbing Air Pollution .

Global Times, October 10th, 2013
Beijing prepares plans for big smog.

Green Optimist, October 10th, 2013
Beijing Fights Air Pollution by Shutting Down Airports and Car Traffic.

International Business Times, October 9th, 2013
Chinese Cooking to Blame for Beijing Air Pollution.

Times of India, October 9th, 2013
Blame your vehicle for air pollution.

NRDC Switchboard, October 9th, 2013
New Pollution Limits Could Help Quench the Thirst of Coal-Fired Power Plants.

This is Beijing, October 8th, 2013
Beijing to replace coal-fired power plants.

UB Post, October 8th, 2013
Poison air pollutes the city.

Times of India, October 7th, 2013
Study finds cities like Pune grappling with air pollution.

South China Morning Post, October 6th, 2013
'Hazardous' air pollution in Beijing disrupts traffic.

Business Standard, October 6th, 2013
Beijing to replace coal-fired power plants.

First Post, October 6th, 2013
Are festivals becoming a bane for the environment?

Zee News, October 4th, 2013
China 'polluting' Mount Fuji.

Global Post, October 3rd, 2013
Think China's pollution is bad? You're partly to blame.

Bloomberg, October 3rd, 2013
China’s Poisoned Air Prompts Economist to Devise Green Tax.

Acid News, October 3rd, 2013
High potential to further cut pollution from power plants.

Epoch Times, October 2nd, 2013
Beijing Air ‘A Joke,’ Complains Swedish Tennis Champion.

UB Post, October 1st, 2013
UB and JICA launch second phase of air pollution control project.

Xinhua Net, October 1st, 2013
China to issue air pollution warnings in Beijing, Tianjin.

Hindustan Times, October 1st, 2013
Beware of the air you breathe!

Global Times, September 30th, 2013
‘Cold air’ to blame for smog, says official meteorologist.

Christian Science Monitor, September 30th, 2013
China's power capacity will double by 2030.

Treehugger, September 30th, 2013
Air pollution in Beijing was so bad this weekend you could barely see across Tiananmen Square.

The Guardian, September 29th, 2013
We must harness the power of the sun.

The Guardian, September 29th, 2013
Climate change? Try catastrophic climate breakdown.

Global Times, September 29th, 2013
Beijing boosts air pollution penalties.

China Digital Times, September 28th, 2013
Quarter of Beijing’s Air Pollution from Elsewhere.

Scientific American, September 27th, 2013
Global Warming Is Real IPCC Repeats--Now Can We Do Something about It?

Times of India, September 27th, 2013
Capital’s air quality monitoring best.

NPR, September 27th, 2013
UN Climate Change Report: Sea Level, Air Temperature To Rise.

NPR, September 27th, 2013
It's Clear Humans Are Changing World's Climate.

Times of India, September 27th, 2013
Drive against air pollution: 19 vehicles seized in Indore.

India Blooms, September 26th, 2013
Air pollution biggest killer in India.

Live Mint, September 26th, 2013
China set to build 200 nuclear power plants.

Washington Post, September 26th, 2013
China’s plan to clean up air pollution could be a climate disaster.

Science Daily, September 26th, 2013
Investigating Mercury Pollution in Indonesia.

US Dept of State, September 26th, 2013
The United States’ Commitment to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves: Year Three Progress Report.

LAX Airport, September 26th, 2013
LAX Air Quality and Source Apportionment Study.

This is Beijing, September 25th, 2013
Beijing to invest heavily to treat air pollution.

DNA India, September 25th, 2013
Lucknow, the most polluted city in the world; three other Indian cities feature on 25 most polluted cities.

Quartz News, September 25th, 2013
China’s plans to cut coal pollution will unleash another environmental catastrophe instead.

Business Standard, September 23rd, 2013
On a path less travelled, in an auto-rickshaw.

The Wall Street Journal, September 22nd, 2013
Chinese Demand for Coal Is Cooling.

Wall Street Journal, September 23rd, 2013
Beijing to Limit Car Ownership to 6 Million.

Reuters, September 23rd, 2013
China to raise prices for cleaner fuel to boost production.

Shanghai Metal Market, September 23rd, 2013
China's Air Pollution Control Initiatives Allow No New Steel Plants in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Megalopolis.

Indian Express, September 22nd, 2013
Auto Raja finds its Métier.

The Gaurdian, September 22nd, 2013
Cleaner air from tackling climate change 'would save millions of lives'.

China Daily, September 22nd, 2013
Car Free Day to fight air pollution.

South China Morning Post, September 21st, 2013
Environmental and social concerns on the rise in China.

The Guardian, September 20th, 2013
EPA outlines first steps to limit US coal plant pollution.

Xinhua Net, September 20th, 2013
Festival traffic jam tests Beijing's patience.

Fast Co-Exist, September 20th, 2013
The 20 Countries With The World’s Biggest "Material Footprints".

Asia Society, September 20th, 2013
Video: Can Beijing Clean Up its Air the Same Way New York and London Did?

Deccan Herald, September 20th, 2013
Parking to be a pricey proposition for B'loreans.

The Hindu, September 20th, 2013
Pay and park proposal: BBMP steps on the gas.

ENS Newswire, September 20th, 2013
Air Pollution Destroys Health of Texas Fracking Communities.

NPR, September 20th, 2013
EPA Wants To Limit Greenhouse Gases From New Coal Power Plants.

Tuoitre News, September 19th, 2013
HCMC, Hanoi seriously polluted with lead dust.

China Daily, September 18th, 2013
The slow death of 'King Coal'.

Reuters, September 18th, 2013
China to publish monthly list of 10 worst polluted cities.

International Business Times, September 17th, 2013
China, US And India Highest Carbon Polluters From Coal-Fired Plants.

Wall Street Journal, September 17th, 2013
China Unveils New Subsidies for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles.

Atlantic Cities, September 16th, 2013
Here's Where You're Most Likely to Die From Air Pollution.

NPR, September 16th, 2013
Natural Gas May Be Easier On Climate Than Coal, Despite Methane Leaks.

EcoSeed, September 16th, 2013
Hong Kong welcomes China's air pollution measures, to curb emissions too.

Coal Guru, September 16th, 2013
Greenpeace calls on India to cut coal emissions like China.

Xinhua Net, September 16th, 2013
World Bank shares green path with China.

Huffington Post, September 15th, 2013
Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy.

Financial Express, September 15th, 2013
Should Dhaka go back to days of terrible air pollution?

UB Post, September 15th, 2013
Citizens of the city facing lung damage.

India Together, September 12th, 2013
Can rural India get the 'power' to choose?

Times of India, September 11th, 2013
Mobile air quality monitors to visit neighbourhoods soon.

International Business Times, September 11th, 2013
Air Pollution Blamed for Spiking Infertility Rates Among Women in China.

Energy Biz, September 10th, 2013
China's Air Quality is Seeping into the United States.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Congestion Problems on the Road - Commuter Pain Survey

The survey results reflect an increased willingness to use public transportation and technology to improve the commute. Overall, 41 percent believe improved public transit would help reduce traffic congestion. Consider that even though globally only 35 percent of people changed the way that they get to work or school in the last year, 45 percent of those who have are opting for public transit. An astonishing 70 percent of Nairobi residents report taking public transit more often in the last year on their daily commute. The biggest movement to public transit is in emerging cities including Nairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing. If this continues, it could help mitigate increasing traffic due to population growth and urbanization. Interestingly, the desire for more accurate and timely information about road conditions as a way to reduce stress was shared across a number of cities from Los Angeles and Chicago to Moscow and Bangalore.

Read More 

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Poisonous Air in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

If you live in Ulaanbaatar, take a whiff. Do you smell that? The smell of winter – the smoke that chokes your throat and hurts your nasal cavity. “Winter is coming,” – literally.

Full article from UB Post, October 8th, 2013

Mongolia’s winter is one of the deadliest in the world. The smoke and fumes caused by ger district residents burning raw coal in century-old stoves, fuming cars, and power plants struggling to keep heating and energy in place, are responsible for one in ten deaths in Ulaanbaatar, according to a study conducted by Simon Fraser University’s Ryan Allen in 2011.

“Ulaanbaatar hasn’t received as much attention as some of Asia’s mega-cities, but the air pollution there is as bad as anywhere in the world,” says Allen, an assistant environmental health professor with Canada’s Simon Fraser University.  Ulaanbaatar’s “harmful dust” is six to seven times higher than the most lenient World Health Organization standards, making it one of the most polluted capital cities in the world today.

When breathing, the lungs of Ulaanbaatar citizens, especially those living in ger districts act like air filters, catching and storing the harmful dust which scientists call “particulate matter” (PM). PM smaller than 2.5 microns or “PM2.5” can cause severe respiratory illnesses.

“The environment’s impacts on health are often overlooked, but we found that one in 10 deaths in Ulaanbaatar can be attributed to air pollution. That far exceeds the number of deaths in the city caused by things that people may be more familiar with, such as traffic accidents.”

That was two years ago, and official statistical data says that around 15 thousand people move in to the steaming capital every year from provincial areas and foreign countries. But another study also showed that one in four people moving to Ulaanbaatar from rural areas change their addresses frequently, so the actual number of people moving into the capital city is probably much higher.

Why is this relevant? Because people moving from rural areas, more often than not, set up residence in the ger districts, which have no access to central heating, water and sanitation. Ger districts produce as much as 70 to 90 percent of the air pollution in the winter. There are many other contributing factors though, such as the number of cars on the streets, and Soviet era power plants still limping along to supply power to the capital.

So just how bad is Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution rate? A newly-published report by the World Bank presents findings on Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution and its impact on health.  Air pollution was monitored year round in Ulaanbaatar’s ger areas for the first time during the study. The calculated exposure of the population to PM2.5 was found to be, on average throughout the year, 10 times higher than Mongolian Air Quality Standards and six to seven times higher than the most lenient World Health Organization targets.

According to the World Bank report, Ulaanbaatar’s air pollution comes from many sources – dust from the desert, unpaved roads and open soil surfaces, lack of vegetation, ash and emissions from coal stoves, power plants, boilers, and vehicles… But coal and wood burning by the 175,000 households in ger areas, used for cooking and heating, contributes to the severity of air pollution in wintertime – summer air pollution is much lower than in winter.

Thankfully, the air pollution issue has been getting some attention from international organizations and the government alike. The government spends billions and billions of MNT to fight pollution by making “clean” stoves, supporting renewable energy, funding construction of “affordable” apartments (which backfired badly by increasing demands for construction material which resulted in even higher housing prices), and developing medical programs for respiratory diseases in infants and children, who are most vulnerable to poor air quality.

International organizations, including Millennium Challenge Corporation, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, along with donor funds from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, UNDP/UNEP, the Netherlands, France, Korea as well as the World Bank, are working with the Mongolian government to find solutions to reduce pollution.

An immediate solution has never been found for this particular issue. Even as far back as the early ’90s, the air pollution rate was still a concern. It’s been more than 20 years, and yet the situation is getting worse every year. Air pollution is responsible for one in ten deaths in Ulaanbaatar. It is the worst killer in town, and it’s free to roam the city to find fresh victims. It kills slowly and painfully, and there’s little to protect against it, so long as you are in Ulaanbaatar. It’s a formidable foe working against the capital, and drastic measures are required to fight it off.

In the foreseeable future, this issue will remain. Until ger districts are gone, cars run on smokeless engines, and power plants are green, grab a gas mask and get ready for winter.