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Found 8 results

  1. In new estimates released this week, the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives. In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas. Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution. Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health, said: “Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents noncommunicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly. Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves.” Included in the assessment is a breakdown of deaths attributed to specific diseases, underlining that the vast majority of air pollution deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases as follows: Outdoor air pollution-caused deaths – breakdown by disease: 40% – ischaemic heart disease; 40% – stroke; 11% – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); 6% – lung cancer; and 3% – acute lower respiratory infections in children. Indoor air pollution-caused deaths – breakdown by disease: 34% – stroke; 26% – ischaemic heart disease; 22% – COPD; 12% – acute lower respiratory infections in children; 6% – lung cancer. The new estimates are based on the latest WHO mortality data from 2012 as well as evidence of health risks from air pollution exposures. Estimates of people’s exposure to outdoor air pollution in different parts of the world were formulated through a new global data mapping. This incorporated satellite data, ground-level monitoring measurements and data on pollution emissions from key sources, as well as modelling of how pollution drifts in the air. Risks factors greater than expected Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, says: “The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes. Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.” After analysing the risk factors and taking into account revisions in methodology, WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves. The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel, as well as evidence about air pollution’s role in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and cancers. In the case of outdoor air pollution, WHO estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide. Many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply be added together, hence the total estimate of around 7 million deaths in 2012.
  2. The revelation that Volkswagen deliberately circumvented emissions tests on many of its diesel vehicles has provoked a huge storm of controversy. This diesel deception has understandably angered car owners. And some have suggested that VW’s management either must have known about the scandal, or effectively lost control of the company. The allegations are severe. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, VW deployed a “defeat device” enabling its cars to meet emissions standards under official test conditions, even though they can release up to 40 times the legal level of nitrogen oxides (NOx) under normal driving conditions. Worse was to come though. VW went on to admit that 11m vehicles worldwide had been fitted with the device. An analysis by the Guardian puts the collective impact of this number of cars at nearly one million additional tonnes of air pollution per year. Loopholes In the EU, it increasingly seems that there is more to this scandal than car manufacturers using underhand tactics to “hotwire” official emissions tests. Leaked documents have revealed that three powerful member states – the UK, France and Germany – have all recently lobbied for the inclusion of loopholes in a new emissions test planned for roll-out in 2017. Germany, it seems, even called for this new test to be conducted on a sloping downhill track. In Brussels itself, my own conversations with EU officials have exposed a tendency to accept carmakers’ behaviour as an unavoidable part of the regulatory “game”. On more than one occasion I have heard the argument that what vehicle manufacturers are doing can’t really be classed as cheating, because – after all – wouldn’t any rational economic actor seek to “exploit the flexibilities” in this kind of regulatory test to their advantage? All of this should give us serious pause for thought. Circumventing an emissions test is one thing. But if member states are actively calling for Brussels to enable the continuation of this behaviour, and EU officials themselves see it as a natural part of the “game”, then we must ask who – if anybody – is left to represent the interests of the public, or indeed the climate, in the development of the EU’s environmental agenda. Debate and data stifling The scandal in fact reveals deep-seated pathologies in the way the EU’s environmental policies are made. It is, crucially, the EU’s privileging of “expert”, industry-generated data on these emissions, produced by a supposedly objective, repeatable test, that has allowed VW to deceive its customers and the wider public. Yet these are the same industry experts who stifle debate about the sustainability of petrol and diesel carmakers’ contributions to the EU’s economy. This, even as Europe faces growing crises of urban air pollution, obesity, and of course climate change. Meanwhile, on-the-road emissions data, such as that painstakingly assembled by the International Council on Clean Transportation, is all too often dismissed as unscientific, and open to the corrupting influences of a messy and complex “real world”. These data are effectively crowdsourced from thousands of drivers and other road users, many with an economic interest in averting the depreciation of their vehicles. And it is these road users – and the wider public at large – who have no choice but to subject themselves to urban air pollution across Europe. According to a recent Transport & Environment report, this “invisible killer” leads to 500,000 premature deaths a year. And diesel vehicles are the principal cause of those deaths. VW’s diesel deception doesn’t just point to an urgent need for a better vehicle emissions test; it highlights the requirement for a more open and inclusive approach to dealing with environmental problems in Europe. As the EU seeks to address and move on from this scandal, Brussels must break the stranglehold exerted over its vehicle pollutant emissions legislation by an inner circle of hubristic industry experts. Instead, it must embrace the ideas, concerns and knowledge of those who most suffer in the face of air pollution – the European public.
  3. Indoor air can be more polluted than the air that you breathe outside. Shocking, but true. And it isn’t just because you keep your windows open at night, thereby allowing the pollutants in outdoor air to waft into your house. Chemicals commonly found in each households, such as floor cleaners and insecticides also add to the growing list of pollutants that are making your indoor air quality bad. But while there are certainly dangers lurking in every room in the house, the good news is that there are affordable and easy solutions for most of them. 1. Increase ventilation. Ventilation should be a priority in every household. Not only does this allow fresh outdoor air in, it also lets the bad air inside the house out. Increasing ventilation promotes good air circulation and prevents molds and other harmful substances to grow and lurk within the confines of the home. 2. Keep your house clean. While good ventilation allows healthy air circulation, the dust and dirt that settle on the surfaces in your home throughout the day don’t really clean themselves up. Keeping the house clean not only involves dusting and sweeping, it also means taking out the trash to avoid the accumulation of bacteria that could become airborne, and keeping toxic substances away when not needed. 3. Turn on the air conditioner. It may come as a surprise to some, but turning on your energy-star-labeled air conditioner, especially in the summer, can actually remove particulate matter and pollen from the air. Air conditioners work by cooling the air and removing the water from the atmosphere, and as a lot of pollutants are soluble in water, they are also removed during this process when the air conditioner is working. 4. Install an air filter. For utmost protection against the negative effects to health caused by bad indoor air quality, having an air filter installed is the best solution. As their name suggests, these filter out particles of dust and other substances in the air, leaving the air that you ultimately breathe in cleaner than it once was. Good quality air filters, such as those from Filter Buy, can remove even very small particles, and are an especially great installation in households with asthma-stricken family members. Indoor air quality can be worse than the air just outside your home, but it doesn’t have to always be the case. By taking steps to clean, ventilate, and install air filters, having improved indoor air quality is not an impossibility.
  4. Air pollution in Europe cost society up to €189 billion (about US $235 billion) in 2012 alone, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said in a new assessment report. Over the period 2008-2012 the estimated cost was at least €329 billion and possibly up to €1053 billion. The greenhouse gases and air pollution from Europe’s industry mainly comes from coal-fired power plants located predominately in Germany and Eastern Europe. The majority of the damage costs between 2008 and 2012 were caused by just 1 percent of Europe’s industrial facilities. The EEA research show that 26 of the top 30 industrial facilities that are polluting the worst and causing the highest damage are power-generating facilities which are primarily fuelled by dirty coal and lignite. Eight of the top 30 facilities are located in Germany and six are in Poland – two countries that rely heavily on coal. Germany and Poland are followed by Romania which has four of the dirtiest facilities; three are located in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, two are in Greece; and the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy and Slovakia all have one each. The combined cost for air pollution in Europe is equal to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Finland or half the GDP of Poland – a country which has opposed tougher EU and IPCC climate targets. The EEA calculated the costs of air pollution on health costs, damage to buildings, reduced agricultural yields, lost working days from sickness caused by air pollution, among other things. “While we all benefit from industry and power generation, this analysis shows that the technologies used by these plants impose hidden costs on our health and the environment,” Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said. “Industry is also only part of the picture – it is important to recognise that other sectors, primarily transport and agriculture, also contribute to poor air quality."” Another EEA report released earlier this month calculates the human costs of air pollution in European cities. The study show that while various policies have indeed improved air quality overall, air pollution continues to be a major environmental health hazard in Europe. EEA calculates that air pollution is responsible for causing workers to go sick, resulting in higher costs for health care systems. According to the environmental agency, air pollution is responsible for an estimated 400 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2011. "Air pollution is still high in Europe," EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx said. "It leads to high costs: for our natural systems, our economy, the productivity of Europe’s workforce, and most seriously, the general health of Europeans." The two reports from EEA will come in handy for EU policymakers who are currently reconsidering proposals to tighten air pollution laws put forward last year by the former European Commission. According to documents obtained by Reuters, the new conservative European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is considering to weaken or even scrap these proposed new air quality laws.
  5. Countries such as Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, which have many large facilities, contribute the most to total damage costs. However, the ordering of countries changes significantly if damage costs are corrected to reflect the output of national economies. Emissions from a number of eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia and Poland) then become more important.

    © EEA

  6. Fifty percent of the damage costs were caused by just 147 facilities, or 1 % of the 14 325 facilities assessed over the period 2008 to 2012. Three quarters of the total damage costs were caused by the emissions of 568 facilities — 4 % of the total number. Eight of the top 30 facilities are located in Germany; six are in Poland; four are in Romania; three are in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, two are located in Greece; and the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy and Slovakia all have one each.

    © EEA

  7. What Are You Doing To Stop Pollution?

    We are living in an age where cars are every where belching out their toxic fumes into the atmosphere. There seems to be no end in sight with more vechicles being built every day. There is an estimated 254.4 million registered vechicles in the US alone and how about the ones that are not registered are you beginning to get the picture. We are slowly killing ourselves and our planet. A 2013 study by MIT pointed out that 53,000 die every year in the US alone due to vechicle emissions. That is just the Us what about in other parts of the world were reduction of exhaust emissions are not even taken. Going green is not an option the whole world must get there if we are to survive. There has to be stricter laws and fines levied against those people and companies who have no regard for the safety of this planet If we continue to pollute and destroy two of our most important resorcues air and water we all die! We must demand that a mandate from the government be put in place for manufactures to create more green products. Though green awareness is coming into view it is not coming fast enough. How long do we have going at this rate? We can’t continue to dump chlorine and bromine into the atmosphere. The clock is ticking and the race is on to come up with ways to save our planet. Or the si-fi scene where you see people boarding spacecrafts heading out into space to find another planet because Earth is nolonger inhabitable could become a reality. Get into the fight to save your planet. What you are about to see will shock you! Can You Afford To Run Your Car Without This Product? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fXxaWfYiHQ Have peace of mind with: XTREME GREEN Eco-Engineered Automotive Products www.xgopportunity.com/elhuntley
  8. Air pollution has serious health impacts, a recent WHO study concluded that about 7 million people around the world died in 2012 as a result from exposure to air pollution. And it’s expected that 29 000 people die too early as a result of air pollution in the UK alone. Now the UK government has admitted that they don’t expect to meet EU’s legal limits for nitrogen dioxide air pollution in at least three major cities until after 2030 – over 20 years too late and five years later than previously admitted. The UK was supposed to meet EU’s legal air pollution limits back in 2010 but the progress to reduce the emissions has been slow. The failure to meet the deadline has resulted in legal procedures against the UK which could result in fines of £300m a year. EU Commission lawyers has described the case as “a matter of life and death” and said this would be “perhaps the longest running infringement of EU law in history”. Judges at the Court of Justice of EU, where the legal case is currently being handled, was told earlier last week by representatives from ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law organisation, and European Commission lawyers that the UK Government won’t meet nitrogen dioxide limits in London, Birmingham and Leeds until after 2030. Representatives from the UK Government tried to suppress this information using rules on legal privilege, but later during the proceedings they admitted to it as it became clear that the DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK) had published information in support of this claim the day before on its website. “It’s bad enough that the government has no intention of complying with these limits in the foreseeable future. It’s even worse that they’re trying to hide behind legal procedural rules to keep this quiet,” Alan Andrews, ClientEarth lawyer, said in a statement. “Another five years of delay means thousands more people will die or be made seriously ill. The UK needs to act now to get deadly diesel vehicles out of our towns and cities.” Until now, the UK government has maintained it would meet nitrogen dioxide limits by 2025 in London and by 2020 in 15 other zones. But the new admissions means that London is expected to meet the targets five years later than previously acknowledged, and 10 years later for Birmingham and Leeds. The air pollution reduction target has also been delayed and pushed back in many other cities around the UK. “These air quality rules should already have been met. Government, councils and the London Mayor must make this issue an urgent priority, and end this national scandal,” Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner Jenny Bates said. “Rapid steps to ban the dirtiest vehicles and cut traffic levels must be taken, and road-building plans that will simply add to the problem should be abandoned.”