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Environmental Pollution in India    (Page 3)

   Contents:

   Delhi's air is choking with pollutant PM 2.5
   Greenhouse Gas Emissions
   Pollution of Indian Seas
   Indian satellite to monitor green house emission
   Environmental Pollution and chronic diseases
   Carbon Farming

  Delhi's air is choking with pollutant PM 2.5

  

   The CSE report claimed that Delhi are`reeling under concoction of pollutants like nitrogen and carbon monoxide (CO). Patients complaining of chest and throat infections have shot up in the past two weeks. Experts have blamed high pollution levels in the Capital for this. 

   Delhi's air is choking with pollutant PM 2.5 that is only 2.5 microns in diameter and is very very small particle. In October 2013, the World Health Organization classified PM2.5 as a Group 1 carcinogen, similar to asbestos and tobacco, saying exposure can cause lung cancer, complicate births and increase the risk of bladder cancer. Short-term spikes can kill, triggering strokes, heart failure and asthma attacks, according to the American Lung Association.

   In 2013, the annual average concentration of PM2.5 in New Delhi was 173 micrograms per cubic meter, compared with 89.5 micrograms in Beijing, according to data from India’s Central Pollution Control Board and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center. The threshold for average annual exposure as recommended by the WHO is 10 micrograms.

   Toxic smog is set to engulf Delhi once again this winter after a six-year respite because of the huge number of new cars clogging the roads. New Delhi adds nearly 1,000 new cars a day to the existing four million registered in the city, almost twice as many as before 2000. Delhi residents get their smog right in the face from cars and trucks running on cheap diesel. India subsidizes sales of the fuel to the equivalent of $15 billion a year, encouraging purchases of diesel vehicles that can pump out exhaust gases with 10 times the carcinogenic particles found in gasoline exhausts. The result: Delhi’s air on average last year was laced with twice the toxic particles per cu.m  being reported in Beijing, leading to respiratory diseases, lung cancer and heart attacks. 

   A survey by the Central Pollution Control Board and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences survey showed that a majority of people living in Delhi suffered from eye irritation, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and poor lung functioning.  One in 10 people have asthma in Delhi. Worse, the winter months bring respiratory attacks and wheezing to many non-asthmatics who are old, who smoke, have respiratory infections or chronic bronchitis.  



  Greenhouse Gas Emissions

   CO2 gas emmission

   India emits the fifth most carbon of any country in the world. At 253 million metric tons, only the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan surpassed its level of carbon emissions in 1998. Carbon emissions have grown nine-fold over the past forty years. In this Industrial Age, with the ever-expanding consumption of hydrocarbon fuels and the resultant increase in carbon dioxide emissions, that greenhouse gas concentrations have reached levels causing climate change. Going forward, carbon emissions are forecast to grow 3.2% per annum until 2020. To put this in perspective, carbon emissions levels are estimated to increase by 3.9% for China and by 1.3% for the United States. India is a non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Green house gases and climate Change, and as such, is not required to reduce its carbon emissions. An historical summary of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use in India is increasing rapidly and causes global warming. 
  All inhabitants of our planet have an equal right to the atmosphere, but the industrialized countries have greatly exceeded their fair, per-capita share of the planet’s atmospheric resources and have induced climate change. The most developed countries possess the capital, technological and human resources required for successful adaptation, while in the developing countries, a large proportion of the population is engaged in traditional farming, that is particularly vulnerable to the changes in temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events associated with climate change.

  According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol , the most industrialized countries are mainly responsible for causing climate change. Thus  equity requires that they should sharply reduce their emissions in order to arrest further climate change and allow other countries access to share of atmospheric resources to develop.

  Pollution of Indian Seas

   Two merchant vessels -- MSC Chitra and Khalijia-III collided off the  Mumbai  coast on August 7, 2010 causing an oil spill. Several containers from one of the vessels fell into the sea. Nearly 100 containers that fell into the waters following the collision between two merchant vessels off the Mumbai coast are still missing and two of them are carrying hazardous chemicals reported on August 17, 2010. Describing the ship collision off the coast of Mumbai as a “freak accident”, environment minister Jairam Ramesh said that India has never seen an oil spill like the one resulting from the incident..

   A first-ever exercise on March 25, 2010, the countrys 7500-km-long coastline will be surveyed to demarcate areas vulnerable to sea erosion, high tide and waves in order to help government take measures in protecting community living in such pockets. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a Rs 1,156 -crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project which among other things cover coastline survey, capacity building of the people living near to coast,  and demarcation of sensitive and hazardous zones.

   The ship Platinum-II arrived in Indian waters on 8 October, 2009 The ministry of environment and forests said it inspected Platinum-II and found the ship contained toxic material. The Platinum-II - formerly known as SS Oceanic or the SS Independence - was destined for the Alang ship- breaking yard. It is Asia largest ship-breaking yard and known as the "graveyard of ships". It said many of the workers tested showed early signs of asbestosis - an incurable disease of the lungs.  An unknown ship dumped tons of waste oil into the sea off Goa, creating tar balls that were heaping on Goas famed beaches September 1, 2010, officials said

   
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  Indian satellite to monitor green house emission

   Indian Satellite

   A dedicated satellite would be launched with the support of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by 2012 to monitor Indias greenhouse gas emission, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said. "Currently, Japan and European countries have this satellite but by 2012 we will have a dedicated satellite that will monitor greenhouse gas emission across the country and globe," Ramesh said on March 13, 2010 at IIT-Powai. 

   "The objective is to study the impact of climate change, fallout of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment by monitoring it through satellite technology," he said. Another satellite for protection and development of the forest cover in India would be ready by 2013. "As the forests are getting depleted at a rapid pace elsewhere in the world,  there seems to be a need for a satellite," Ramesh said.

   Environmental Pollution and chronic diseases

  In an Indo-US joint workshop, on September 05, 2008 at Chandigarh, Prof S K Jindal said it has been globally recognised that environmental factors, have important links with infectious as well as non-infectious diseases of both acute and chronic nature. “The WHO estimates that 24 per cent of global disease burden and 23 per cent of all deaths can be attributed to environmental factors. The burden is more on the developing than the developed countries.”  He said: “In developing countries, an estimated 42 per cent of acute lower respiratory infections are caused by environmental factors.” ;

   The major burden of these hazards is borne by the lungs. Bronchial Asthma and other allergies; chronic obstructive lung disease, respiratory infections including tuberculosis  and occupational lung diseases are some of the common problems with a strong environmental risk which, account for a large disease burden all over the world, including in India. Extensive studies to gauge the effects of environmental factors on the human health.needed.

   According to New England Journal of Medicine, 2007, even a short exposure to traffic fumes can increase your chances of Heart Disease, including heart attack. People who exercise in areas where there is heavy traffic may be especially at risk, researchers say. Doctors at AIIMS, Delhi said on October 28, 2010 the incidence of rising strokes among the youngsters. “Lifestyle, environmental changes, growing pollution are the major causes for the increase,” said Dr Kameshwar Prasad, professor, neurology, AIIMS.
  This gaseous air-pollutant along with other noxious gases emitted from the burning of fire-crackers on the eve of Diwali or  Holi Festival aggravates the risk of triggering an attack in 30 mn asthmatics in India and also has the potential to cause new cases of asthma.

   Carbon Farming

   Planting trees in deserts capture carbon dioxide Planting trees in coastal deserts could capture carbon dioxide, reduce harsh desert temperatures, boost rainfall, revitalise soils and produce cheap biofuels , say scientists. Large-scale plantations of the hardy jatropha tree or Jatropha curcas Plant ,  could help sequester carbon dioxide through a process known as ‘carbon farming’, according to a study based on data gathered in Mexico and Oman that was published in "Earth System Dynamics" on 31 July, 2013.

   Each hectare of the tree could soak up 17-25 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, they say, at a cost of 42-63 euros (about US$56-84) per tonne of gas, the paper says. This makes the technique competitive with high-tech carbon capture and storage. Klaus Becker, the study’s lead author and director of carbon sequestration consultancy Atmosphere Protect, says that a jatropha plantation covering just three per cent of the Arabian Desert could absorb all the carbon dioxide produced by cars in Germany over two decades

    

   




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