posted 15 Sep 2012, 06:35
The injuries effects of polluted air on health have long recognized but new evidence shows that improve air quality raises life expectancy. A study of 51 metropolitan areas in the United States reported in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that residents lived up to five months longer on average after a clean-up reduced the level of fine particulate matter in the air. For the period 1980-2000, longevity in the more polluted American cities improved by about 10 months following official intervention. It is important to note that these conclusions were drawn after adjusting for other factors that can affect the lifespan of the residents, such income, education, demographics and smoking. The finding are of relevance everywhere because they deal with the health effects of 'PM 2.5' or breathable fine particulars measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter. Those with chronic and obstructive respiratory conditions feel their immediate paralyzing effect. At high levels, they harm everyone. Unfortunately, India has been in responding to this major environmental issue. It must not lose any more time in operationalizing the amended National Ambient Air Quality Standards drafted in 2008.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board, at least 70 Indian cities have failed to attain even existing air quality standards. A scheme to improve the air quality in 16 cities, drawn up in compliance with the Supreme Court orders, has been taking tiny, incremental steps. Will the new evidence on the health benefits of cleaner air persuade the Central government to do better? Extensive monitoring of pollutants in cities in real time, applying the proposed stricter standards (as opposed to limited sampling at few locations), must be the norm. Live reporting of the data over the internet is critical. With reliable data available, especially on fine particulates, it should be possible to plug pollution sources. The changes made in fuel standards over the years to reduce lead, sulphur and benzene content have produced good results. Modern automotive standards and catalytic converters, have cut tailpipe emissions. but aging public transport, commercial and freight vehicles spewing particulate matter into the air remain a major health hazard. The difficulties experienced in replacing old auto-rickshaws in Kolkata (Indian city) with LPT ------ fueled ones point to the need for a scheme to provide financial assistance. Rapid progress on the metro rail projects is also vital to improve air quality in cities.
P.S. it's not copy paste, I wrote it!!! :P Was not getting a proper heading for blog.....