Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα air pollution. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα air pollution. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Chinese New Year celebrated with fireworks over New York's Hudson River

A dazzling fireworks show, marking the first major global celebrations of the Chinese Lunar New Year, took place here Tuesday evening over the Hudson River.

The 20-minute fireworks display was the first large-scale fireworks display ever in the United States, to commemorate the Chinese Lunar New Year, which officially falls on Feb. 19 and is said to be celebrated by approximately one out of every six people in the world.

"It was fabulous! It's extraordinary beautiful," said Susan King, who works for a non-government organization promoting teaching exchange between China and the United States and was invited to watch the fireworks in the Consulate-General of China in New York.

"The music was lovely. It's exciting to be able to come here to watch the celebration of the Chinese New Year. We feel very honored to be here for that," she said.

Titled "Harmonious China," the fireworks display commenced at 7:30 p.m. local time (0030 Wednesday), utilizing three-barges on the Hudson River, nearly equaling the scope of the iconic Macy's Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular.

Artistic director of the event Huang Jiancheng said he hopes to express the joy through the fireworks.

Yu Ding, dean of Arts Administration and Education Institute, Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), said that he hopes the tradition of lighting fireworks during the Chinese New Year will bring New Yorkers happiness and joy, and deliver Chinese wonderful blessings to the United States and the rest of the world.

Viewing was possible along the Hudson River from both Midtown Manhattan and New Jersey sides, and there was also a live accompanying music broadcast on three local radio stations, featuring special music composed by Guan Xia, director of the China National Symphony Orchestra.

The fireworks display was divided into four thematic and emotional chapters -- starting with "Great Jubilance," followed by "The Return of Spring," then "Illumination of Stars and the Moon," and concluding with a powerful "Universal Celebration."

The fireworks kick off a week of Lunar New Year events at cultural institutions around New York City as part of "Happy Chinese New Year: Fantastic Art China," including a public art exhibition at Lincoln Center, a lighting display of the Empire State Building and other events hosted by US and Chinese partners.
  Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn


Τρίτη 3 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

China warns of festival air pollution caused by fireworks

China's environment watchdog on Tuesday demanded local governments take measures during the lunar New Year celebrations to lessen pollution caused by fireworks.
Local governments should limit fireworks displays, expand restricted areas and reinforce check-ups if weather conditions are not suitable for pollutants to disperse, said the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Setting off fireworks is a Chinese New Year tradition, but pollutants generated by fireworks such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, worsened air quality in many Chinese cities last year.

The ministry asked local governments to designate time and area for firework display, review retailers' qualifications and promote environmentally-friendly fireworks.

Fireworks are not the only tradition the Chinese have to give up for better air quality. The government has also urged people to burn less incense in the temples.

  Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Παρασκευή 23 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Beijing: Pollution goals missed

Beijing closed or removed 392 polluting factories in 2014, according to the municipal people's congress, which opened on Friday.

A total of 30 industrial relief and cooperation platforms and 53 related programs were launched to pull the polluting companies out of Beijing in the past year, mayor of Beijing Wang Anshun said in a government work report.

Another 300 factories are expected to be closed in 2015. 

Although efforts have been taken in 2014, Beijing failed to meet a key pollution reduction target last year with annual average density of PM2.5 down 4 percent, less than the 5 percent target, Wang said.

  Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
23- 24/1/15

Πέμπτη 22 Ιανουαρίου 2015

China's air quality dire but improving (Greenpeace)

The skies of China's notoriously smog-filled cities saw a marginal amelioration last year, according to figures released by Greenpeace Thursday (Jan 22), but pollution remained far above national and international standards...
China's cities are often hit by heavy pollution, blamed on coal-burning by power stations and industry, as well as vehicle use, and it has become a major source of discontent with the ruling Communist Party. Retired senior officials have acknowledged that it may kill as many as half a million people a year.
Levels of PM2.5 - airborne particulates with a diameter small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs - fell year-on-year in 71 of the 74 cities monitored by the ministry of environmental protection, the figures showed.
But in China's most polluted city, Xingtai, they still averaged 131.4 microgrammes per cubic metre. In Beijing, they were 83.2 microgrammes per cubic metre, and 52.2 in Shanghai, the country's financial centre. By comparison, New York's PM2.5 level averaged 11.2 last year and Tokyo's was 15.8 for the fiscal year ending in March 2014, the most recent figures available.
The World Health Organization recommends a maximum average exposure of 25 microgrammes per cubic metre in a 24-hour period, and 10 microgrammes per cubic metre over a year. China's own standard is 35 microgrammes per cubic metre over a year.
The statistics released by Greenpeace were based on official data from China's ministry of environmental protection. It makes current levels available online but does not publicly release historical data or averages. The figures were compiled by Fresh-Ideas Studio, the operator of a popular pollution monitoring app.
The numbers showed that Xingtai, in the northern province of Hebei, enjoyed a 15.3 per cent improvement, with Beijing levels falling 7.7 per cent and Shanghai dropping 14.0 per cent. Xian, home to the Terracotta Warriors, saw the most dramatic decline at more than 27 per cent.
But despite the drops none of the 74 cities achieved the WHO recommended annual mark, with the least polluted, Haikou on the island of Hainan, averaging 22.4.

The environmental campaign group also released a short film on the subject by renowned director Jia Zhangke, whose award-winning 2013 movie A Touch of Sin was denied a Chinese release by the country's censors.
Smog Journeys tells the story of two families, one in China's coal belt and the other in Beijing, showing how neither wealth nor education can defend against smog. It closes with a child in Beijing drawing pictures on dust-covered cars of a world he hopes to live in, complete with a radiant sun.
"The character setting is meant to point out that no one gets to be different when it comes to smog," Jia said in an interview posted by Greenpeace on YouTube. "One thing that fascinated and shocked me the most was the fact that even on smoggy days, people still live their lives as usual."
Public discontent about the environment has grown in China, leading the government to declare a "war on pollution" and vow to reduce the proportion of energy derived from fossil fuels. But it has shied away from pledging to cut total national coal use.
One factor contributing to the decline in parts of northern China is likely to have been the car use restrictions, factory closures and public-sector holidays imposed during a November meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing.
The result was stunning skies popularly dubbed "APEC blue" by online commentators mocking their temporary nature, and even Chinese President Xi Jinping himself used the phrase in a speech.
Pollution is a perennial issue on Chinese social networks, with users on Thursday poking fun at efforts by officials in the southwestern city of Chongqing to clean up dirty air by banning residents from smoking bacon, a traditional method of preserving pork - the latest scientifically dubious theory about its cause.
Environmental activists called for further steps to reduce pollution, cutting coal use and shifting towards renewables.

"Clean air is a basic necessity for healthy living," said Yan Li, Greenpeace East Asia's head of climate and energy. "It's sad if children grow up with more smog than clean air and blue skies, as depicted in Jia's film. Bringing back clean air needs to be a priority and it requires urgent action."
In a commentary piece for the Lancet, a leading medical journal, China's former health minister Chen Zhu and environmental officials said "that between 350,000 and 500,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of outdoor air pollution in China".
- AFP/xq


Τρίτη 6 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Beijing city raises subsidies for scrapping polluting vehicles

Beijing car owners with emissions-heavy models can now earn more money from scrapping their vehicles after the city raised its subsidy for doing so by an average of 2,000 yuan (321.8 US dollars), environmental protection authorities said Tuesday.

According to the new plan, owners who used their vehicles for more than six years and disposed of the vehicles at least one year earlier can receive an average of 8,000 yuan subsidies. The highest subsidies for cars will reach 8,500 yuan, and 21,500 yuan for heavy duty diesel vehicles.

The plan is to be effective throughout 2015 and 2016.

Owners who trade in their old vehicles for new ones will receive another subsidy for purchasing new cars.

Old-vehicles used for more than 10 years with high pollutant emissions are still running on the road, said Li Kunsheng, with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

"They are the target of our pollution monitoring work," he said.

The new plan is to be announced in detail soon, according to Li, and all vehicle-owners who scrapped their vehicles after Jan. 1 are qualified to apply for the new plan.

Beijing's average PM2.5 density in 2014 dropped by four percent compared with 2013, but some pollutants rebounded, said the municipal environmental protection bureau earlier this week.

The average density of PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, was 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter in 2014, compared with 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013, the bureau said in a statement Sunday.

The reading was still 1.5 times higher than the national standard of 35, which was set by the State Council in 2012.

As part of efforts to curb pollution, Beijing reduced coal use by 2.6 million tonnes to keep it below 19 million tonnes. The capital also removed 476,000 outdated vehicles from roads and shut down about 375 factories in 2014.

In 2015, Beijing aims to cut PM2.5 index by around five percent and reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by six percent.

 Source: Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Τετάρτη 12 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Going green: Beijing, Washington strike landmark climate change deal

The world’s top carbon polluters – China and the United States – have reached a landmark agreement on greenhouse gas emissions, with both countries pledging to curb them by about a third by 2030.

Under the agreement, which was announced by President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing, the United States pledges to reduce the level of its greenhouse gas emissions – based off 2005 levels – by 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025. Ultimately, the goal for American policy makers is to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050.
For its part, China has pledged to stop its emissions from rising by 2030 – the first time the country has ever promised to reach such a goal. President Xi said that in order to successfully accomplish this, 20 percent of China's energy needs will come from alternative sources by 2030, such as solar power and wind energy. 

With world leaders preparing to meet in Paris in 2015 to discuss international plans to combat global warming, both the US and China hope their new deal will motivate other countries to follow suit and set ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gases.
The White House said in a statement that China is embracing the “energy revolution,” which includes economic reforms and ways to deal with air pollution. 

China has signed onto providing an "additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030, more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States,” according to the statement. 

While the deal was hailed by the White House, serious roadblocks remain, considering that Congress will be controlled by Republicans starting in 2015. Conservatives have generally criticized attempts to combat climate change, to the point that many do not acknowledge that it exists. An unnamed official told CNN, however, that President Obama was committed to the effort. 

"Congress may try to stop us, but we believe that with control of Congress changing hands we can proceed with the authority we already have,” the official said. "This is really the crusade of a narrow group of people who are politically motivated and have made this a cause celebre, but we believe we will be successful."
The announcement of the climate change deal follows several reports on agreements between the US and China around trade tariffs, military maneuvers, and easing travel visas.
As part of the trade deal, both sides agreed to get rid of $1 trillion worth of tariffs a year surrounding global sales of information and communications technology, such as GPS devices, medical equipment, and game consoles. 

The move was hailed as a “breakthrough” deal that could boost bilateral trade and create more jobs. However, before the deal goes forward, the agreement will have to be approved by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Πέμπτη 9 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Severe air pollution hits North China, government issues orange alert

The latest wave of severe air pollution continued to smother China's northern regions including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Henan provinces on Thursday, and is likely to last until Saturday. 

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) upgraded northern China's smog alert from yellow to orange on Thursday afternoon. Most northern regions were severely affected. The NMC forecast that Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province will all suffer from dense smog that could bring visibility down to less than 200 meters in some places on Friday, NMC said on its website.

The smog, which first hit Henan Province on Tuesday, was said to be the worst in northern China since July.

According to Beijing's contingency plans, outdoor sport events and school activities should be cancelled while an orange alert is in effect and it is suggested that residents wear masks while outside and wash faces afterwards.

Some cities in Hebei Province, such as Langfang and Handan, began to limit the number of vehicles on the road by prohibiting cars with certain license plate numbers from being driven, in an attempt to curb air pollution.

  • Two thirds of Henan's cities have been shrouded by air pollution for several days this month, and the Department of Environmental Protection of Henan Province attributed the smog to farmers burning straw in their fields, which helps crops grow, the Guangming Daily reported.

However, environmentalists do not buy the explanation offered by Henan's government.

"The occurrence of the smog is by no means an accident," Du Shaozhong, former deputy director of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told the Global Times.

China's current industrial production methods that rely heavily on traditional, polluting energy sources and vehicle exhaust fumes should be blamed for causing the smog, Du said.

Du called on the public and government to work together to change the production methods, to supervise emissions and to curb smoke produced by restaurants.

"Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will never see blue skies if we do not deal with pollution caused by vehicles, burning coal and various industries," Du said.

[By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times]

Τρίτη 10 Ιουνίου 2014

Residents in Colorado Town File Class-Action Lawsuit Against State and Governor to Uphold Fracking Ban

Lafayette, CO residents passed a measure to ban fracking within city limits in November, yet they’re still fighting for clean air and water.

A month after elections, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Lafayette to overturn the newly passed Community Bill of Rights. Now, residents are turning the tables back on the association, as well as the state and Gov. John Hickenlooper in a first-of-its-kind, class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday in Boulder County District Court.

While the suit centers on fracking, it seeks to protect the citizens’ right to self-governance under the Community Bill of Rights. The residents allege that the Colorado Oil and Gas Act and the industry’s enforcement of it violate that right to local self-government under the U.S. Constitution.........http://ecowatch.com/2014/06/10/colorado-lawsuit-fracking-ban/


  • Les USA "nettoient" le marché de l'UE pour y vendre leur gaz de schiste...

Les Etats-Unis cherchent à affaiblir l'Europe et à "nettoyer" le marché européen pour y vendre du gaz de schiste américain, a déclaré mardi à Moscou le conseiller du président russe Sergueï Glaziev.
"Les Américains ont pour but d'affaiblir l'Union européenne, de provoquer la faillite de toute une série de banques européennes pour obtenir l'annulation de leurs dettes envers la Russie et l'Europe. Ils souhaitent affaiblir l'Europe et nettoyer le marché du gaz pour y vendre du gaz de schiste américain", a indiqué M.Glaziev lors d'une conférence de presse à RIA Novosti.
Selon le conseiller, les sanctions économiques que les Etats-Unis cherchent à faire adopter contre la Russie, serviront à affaiblir l'Europe ce qui permettra aux Etats-Unis d'imposer des conditions économiques désavantageuses à l'UE.
Fin mars dernier, le président américain Barack Obama a déclaré à Bruxelles que les Etats-Unis pourraient fournir plus de gaz à l'Europe qu'il ne lui en faut pour remplacer le gaz russe. En juin, les importations de gaz de schiste américain en Europe ont été évoquées lors du sommet du G7. Washington commencera à fournir du gaz de schiste à l'Europe à la fin de 2015, mais cela implique des investissements de plusieurs milliards de dollars.........................http://fr.ria.ru/world/20140610/201500541.html

Δευτέρα 26 Μαΐου 2014

China will destroy 5,000,000 cars this year to battle air pollution (Polluting vehicles to be scrapped)

China is going to make air cleaner by taking 5.33 million ageing cars off its roads, according to a government document. The move is part of a broader campaign for battling deep environmental crisis that’s gripped world’s second-biggest economy.
The vehicles in question are so-called ‘yellow label’ cars that do not meet Chinese fuel standards and are thus meant to be ‘eliminated’ this year, the Chinese State Council document published on Monday and cited by Reuters, says.
Chinese authorities, spurred by overwhelming public outcry, have lately boosted efforts for tackling the growing ecological crisis, a byproduct of decades of massive economic growth amid neglect for environmental protection.

The plan for cutting the number of old vehicles is part of a broader action plan to cut emissions over the next two years. Chinese authorities say the country had not been able to catch up with its pollution reduction plan for 2011-2013 period and now had to come up with some tougher measures. 

In Beijing, 330,000 cars will be disposed of, while 660,000 will be taken off the streets of the neighboring Hebei province, home to seven of China's smoggiest cities in 2013.
The document does not specify how exactly the process of getting rid of old cars is going to be implemented. Car owners who agree to have their old cars scrapped could be getting subsidies, as was earlier done by Beijing municipal government, which offered sums between 2,500-14,500 yuan (US$400-2,300) to those ready to say goodbye to their ageing vehicles.
The level of the hazardous airborne particles known PM 2.5 in Beijing air is over four times the daily level recommended by the World Health Organization. A third of all PM 2.5 in the air of the Chinese capital comes from vehicle emissions, according to Beijing’s environmental watchdog.
"Many vehicles have problems and many didn't even meet the standards when they came out of the factory, and fining them on the streets isn't the way to solve this problem," Li Kunsheng, director of the Vehicle Emissions Center of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, told Reuters......http://rt.com/news/161528-china-destroy-millions-cars/

  • Polluting vehicles to be scrapped...
The Chinese government announced on Monday that the country will pull 6 million highly polluting vehicles off the roads and scrap them before the end of 2014.

The rule applies to vehicles that do not meet exhaust emissions standards. Of the vehicles to be scrapped this year, 20 percent are in the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Hebei Province, all northern regions frequently troubled by smog in recent years.

More vehicles will be scrapped next year, including up to 5 million in the nation's economically developed regions such as the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions, according to an action plan published by the State Council.

"Strengthening control on vehicle emissions will be a major item on the agenda for the country's energy savings, emissions reductions, and low-carbon development during the next two years," said the action plan.

A report from environmental authorities showed that 31.1 percent of air pollution in Beijing comes from vehicle exhaust.

In addition to eliminating polluting vehicles, experts are calling for the development of less polluting fuel.

According to the action plan, accelerating the elimination of highly polluting vehicles will help China hit several of its green targets for the next two years, including annual reductions of 3.9 percent in energy consumption per unit of economic output, 2 percent in emissions of sulfur dioxide and 5 percent in emissions of nitrogen oxides.

To achieve these goals, the government will also push forward other work such as slashing outdated production capacities, reducing coal consumption, and introducing green technologies that are conducive to emissions control and energy savings.


Πέμπτη 8 Μαΐου 2014

United Nations News Centre - ‘Enveloped in dirty air’, most cities fail to meet UN agency’s new pollution guidelines

 UN, 7 May 2014 – Many of the world’s cities are “enveloped in dirty air” that is dangerous breathe, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today, warning that urban dwellers are being exposed to excessive air pollution and are at a risk of respiratory diseases and other long-term health problems.

Air quality in most urban areas worldwide that monitor outdoor air pollution fails to meet WHO safety guidelines, putting people at additional of serious health problems, the agency said in a press release issued along with its 2014 urban ambient air quality database.

The agency says the new information calls for greater awareness of health risks caused by air pollution, implementation of effective air pollution mitigation policies, and close monitoring of the situation in cities worldwide.

The WHO database covers 1600 cities across 91 countries – 500 more cities than the previous database (2011), revealing that more cities worldwide are monitoring outdoor air quality, reflecting growing recognition of air pollution’s health risks.

According to the database, only 12 per cent of the people living in cities reporting on air quality reside in cities where that air quality complied with WHO guideline levels. About half of the urban population being monitored is exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels WHO recommends - putting those people at additional risk of serious, long-term health problems.

In most cities where there is enough data to compare the situation today with previous years, air pollution is getting worse. Many factors contribute to this increase, including reliance on fossil fuels such as coal fired power plants, dependence on private transport motor vehicles, inefficient use of energy in buildings, and the use of biomass for cooking and heating.

“Too many urban centres today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Children and Women's Health.

“Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe. So a growing number of cities and communities worldwide are striving to better meet the needs of their residents - in particular children and the elderly."

Some cities are making notable improvements - demonstrating that air quality can be improved by implementing policy measures such as banning the use of coal for “space heating” in buildings, using renewable or “clean” fuels for electricity production, and improving efficiency of motor vehicle engines.

“We can win the fight against air pollution and reduce the number of people suffering from respiratory and heart disease, as well as lung cancer,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

“Effective policies and strategies are well understood, but they need to be implemented at sufficient scale. Cities such as Copenhagen and Bogotà, for example, have improved air quality by promoting ‘active transport’ and prioritizing dedicated networks of urban public transport, walking and cycling,” she adds.

The report notes that individual cities can take local action to improve air quality and thus go against regional trends. And good air quality can go hand in hand with economic development, as indicated by some major cities in Latin America which meet, or approach, the WHO air quality guidelines.

“We cannot buy clean air in a bottle, but cities can adopt measures that will clean the air and save the lives of their people,” said Dr. Carlos Dora, Coordinator, Interventions for Healthy Environments, WHO Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. 


Παρασκευή 4 Απριλίου 2014

Ukraine eyes coal after Russian gas price hike.

Ukraine's Western-backed leaders scrambled on Friday to find new sources of energy after Russia hiked its gas price by 80 percent in response to the overthrow of Kiev's pro-Kremlin regime.
The crisis-hit nation saw the amount it must pay for 1,000 cubic metres of blue fuel soar to $485.50 from $268.50 after Russia imposed two price increases in three days that reflected its deep displeasure with the ex-Soviet nation's new westward course.
Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan called Russia's new price "political" and vowed to explore solutions that included a heavier reliance on coal -- a polluting source of energy whose consumption has imperilled the air quality of nations such as China.

"We are now reviewing our electricity and fuel balance for 2014 with a view of using as much domestic coal as possible at the expense of natural gas," Prodan told a cabinet meeting in comments posted on the government website.
Ukraine has relied on coal throughout much of the past century despite efforts by global institutions such as the World Bank to help Kiev phase out its use following independence from Moscow.
The International Energy Agency estimates that coal accounts for about 30 percent of Ukraine's total energy supply compared to the 40 percent of the balance assumed by natural gas.

The nation of 46 million on the EU's eastern frontier is rich in resources but still imports about 30 percent of its needs due to inefficiencies and heavy state subsidies to both households and industries...........[hurriyetdailynews.com]


Τρίτη 25 Μαρτίου 2014

Air pollution now linked to 1 in 8 deaths worldwide, UN health agency reports

25 March 2014 – Air pollution – both indoor and outdoor – killed some 7 million people across the globe in 2012, making it the world’s largest single environmental health risk, according to new figures released today by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” said Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

“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,” Dr. Neira added.
In particular, the new data, which cites air pollution as the cause of one in eight global deaths, reveals 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 pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

“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,” Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health said. “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.”

Analysing the risk factors, 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, the agency estimates there were 3.7 million deaths in 2012 from urban and rural sources worldwide. The most air pollution-related deaths occurred in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, according to WHO, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and some 2.6 million related to outdoor pollution.
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.

“Excessive air pollution is often a by-product of unsustainable policies in sectors such as transport, energy, waste management and industry. In most cases, healthier strategies will also be more economical in the long term due to health-care cost savings as well as climate gains,” Carlos Dora, WHO Coordinator for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health said. 

“WHO and health sectors have a unique role in translating scientific evidence on air pollution into policies that can deliver impact and improvements that will save lives,” Dr. Dora added.
The release of today’s data is a step in the development of a WHO roadmap for preventing diseases related to air pollution. This involves the development of a WHO-hosted global platform on air quality and health to generate better data on air pollution-related diseases and strengthened support to countries and cities through guidance, information and evidence about health gains from key interventions.

Pollution kills 7 million people every year. -WHO

Air pollution kills about 7 million people worldwide every year, with more than half of the fatalities due to fumes from indoor stoves, according to a new report from the World Health Organization published today (March 25).
The agency said air pollution is the cause of about one in eight deaths and has now become the single biggest environmental health risk.
“We all have to breathe, which makes pollution very hard to avoid,” said Professor Frank Kelly, director of the environmental research group at King’s College London, who was not part of the WHO report.

One of the main risks of pollution is that tiny particles can get deep into the lungs, causing irritation. Scientists also suspect air pollution may be to blame for inflammation in the heart, leading to chronic problems or a heart attack.
The WHO estimated that there were about 4.3 million deaths in 2012 caused by indoor air pollution, mostly people cooking inside using wood and coal stoves in Asia. The WHO said there were about 3.7 million deaths from outdoor air pollution in 2012, of which nearly 90 per cent were in developing countries.
  • But the WHO noted that many people are exposed to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Due to this overlap, mortality attributed to the two sources cannot simply added together, hence the WHO said it lowered the total estimate from around 8 million to 7 million deaths in 2012.
The new estimates are more than double previous figures and based mostly on modelling. The increase is partly due to better information about the health effects of pollution and improved detection methods. Last year, the WHO’s cancer agency classified air pollution as a carcinogen, linking dirty air to lung and bladder cancer.
The WHO’s report noted women had higher levels of exposure than men in developing countries.

  • 7 millions de personnes victimes de la pollution atmosphérique dans le monde (OMS)...

En 2012, la pollution de l'air dans le monde a tué 7 millions de personnes, selon le rapport publié par l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS).

Ces chiffres représentent près du double des estimations précédentes, témoignant du fait que la pollution atmosphérique est devenue l'une des plus grandes menaces à la santé de l’humanité.

Ces données montrent qu’en 2012, une mort sur huit s’est produite en raison des problèmes, liés à la pollution de l’air. Il s’agit des maladies cardio-vasculaires, des accidents vasculaires cérébraux et des maladies pulmonaires chroniques, mais aussi des cas de cancer, et des infections virales respiratoires aiguës.


Κυριακή 16 Μαρτίου 2014

France limits vehicle use in Paris amid pollution

PARIS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The French government on Saturday decided to limit vehicle use in Paris and suburbs on next Monday after air pollution reached high levels in several regions in France.
In a statement posted on Matignon website, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault decided to set a system of "alternating traffic" in Paris and suburbs in March 17 from 5:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) as pollution was expected to continue unabated through the weekend.
"We forecast an improvement in the situation tomorrow. However, the forecasts show a rise in pollution from Sunday night and on Monday and Tuesday," Ayrault's office said.

The prime minister said limiting vehicles' use was "necessary" to deal with the new peak of air pollution despite the "difficulties that this measure may cause to the everyday lives of Parisians."
Following recurring spikes in French air pollution, the government offered free public transport over the weekend while Parisians were called to use Velib and Autolib, public sharing services of bicycle and electric cars.
Adding to that, officials recommended to reduce driving speeds, avoid intense physical activity and outdoor walks with children under six years old, and a prohibition against lighting fires outside.
According to Ecology Minister Philippe Martin, France would implement a plan of atmosphere protection in the next few months.
"By the summer, the most affected areas will be the subject of atmosphere protection plan that will provide appropriate measures: reducing emissions from construction sites, transfer of companies and administrations and reducing traffic speeds on certain sections of high-traffic," the minister told the daily Liberation.
On Saturday, the Airparif Association, an environmental body responsible for monitoring air quality of Ile-de-France, expected the pollution index to be high for the fifth consecutive day at 90 due to increased pollutant of PM10.
The increase in pollution level was caused by searing temperatures heating up traffic and industrial pollutants and the hot air re-circulating slowly across densely populated north France and the capital. 

Σάββατο 22 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Measures taken to tackle heavy air pollution in N. China

Efforts are being made in northern China to tackle the dense smog affecting the region, after weather authorities issued a yellow air pollution alert on Saturday.

Beijing, Tianjin Municipalities and parts of Hebei province have been choking under a blanket of heavy air pollution since Thursday. To curb emissions, Hebei has slowed down certain projects under construction, while all surface mines and open quarries have been closed. The province also plans to tear down a number of steel and iron production facilities.

In the capital Beijing, the construction of new metro line has been halted. According to weather authorities, this round of heavy pollution will last until next Thursday.


Παρασκευή 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Beijing issues rare air pollution alert

When the air gets really bad, Beijing says it has an emergency plan to yank half the city's cars off the road. The only problem is: It may be difficult to ever set that plan in motion.
A rare alert issued Friday was an "orange" one, the second-highest in the four levels of urgency. It prompted health advisories, bans on barbeques, fireworks and demolition work, but no order to pull cars from the streets.
Beijing's alert system requires a forecast of three days in a row of severe pollution for the highest level.

Ma Jun of the non-governmental Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing said the government is reluctant to adopt the most disruptive measures, because it would be nearly impossible to notify all drivers of the rules. 


Κυριακή 3 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Experts say nuclear power needed to slow warming.

PITTSBURGH: Some of the world's top climate scientists say wind and solar energy won't be enough to head off extreme global warming, and they're asking environmentalists to support the development of safer nuclear power as one way to cut fossil fuel pollution.

Four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter, an advance copy of which was given to The Associated Press, urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change.

Environmentalists agree that global warming is a threat to ecosystems and humans, but many oppose nuclear power and believe that new forms of renewable energy will be able to power the world within the next few decades.

That isn't realistic, the letter said.

"Those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough" to deliver the amount of cheap and reliable power the world needs, and "with the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology" that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.

The letter signers are James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Hansen began publishing research on the threat of global warming more than 30 years ago, and his testimony before Congress in 1988 helped launch a mainstream discussion. Last February he was arrested in front of the White House at a climate protest that included the head of the Sierra Club and other activists. Caldeira was a contributor to reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Emanuel is known for his research on possible links between climate change and hurricanes, and Wigley has also been doing climate research for more than 30 years.

Emanuel said the signers aren't opposed to renewable energy sources but want environmentalists to understand that "realistically, they cannot on their own solve the world's energy problems."

The vast majority of climate scientists say they're now virtually certain that pollution from fossil fuels has increased global temperatures over the last 60 years. They say emissions need to be sharply reduced to prevent more extreme damage in the future.

In 2011 worldwide carbon dioxide emissions jumped 3 percent, because of a large increase by China, the No. 1 carbon polluting country. The U.S. is No. 2 in carbon emissions.

Hansen, who's now at Columbia University, said it's not enough for environmentalists to simply oppose fossil fuels and promote renewable energy.

"They're cheating themselves if they keep believing this fiction that all we need" is renewable energy such as wind and solar, Hansen told the AP.

The joint letter says, "The time has come for those who take the threat of global warming seriously to embrace the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems" as part of efforts to build a new global energy supply.

Stephen Ansolabehere, a Harvard professor who studies energy issues, said nuclear power is "very divisive" within the environmental movement. But he added that the letter could help educate the public about the difficult choices that climate change presents.

One major environmental advocacy organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council, warned that "nuclear power is no panacea for our climate woes."

Risk of catastrophe is only one drawback of nuclear power, NRDC President Frances Beinecke said in a statement. Waste storage and security of nuclear material are also important issues, she said.

"The better path is to clean up our power plants and invest in efficiency and renewable energy," Beinecke said.

The scientists acknowledge that there are risks to using nuclear power, but say those are far smaller than the risk posed by extreme climate change.

"We understand that today's nuclear plants are far from perfect."

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Science/2013/Nov-03/236720-experts-say-nuclear-power-needed-to-slow-warming.ashx#ixzz2jcQLBgWm


Τετάρτη 30 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Air pollution champion: China burns more coal than rest of world combined

China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported. China’s coal use is poised to continue rising, despite the country's rapidly deteriorating environment, experts predicted.
­The latest EIA report revealed that China's coal consumption grew more than 9 percent in 2011, continuing its upward trend for a 12th consecutive year. Since 2000, the country has accounted for more than 80 percent of the global increase in coal use, the EIA reported. China currently accounts for 47 percent of global coal consumption, nearly totaling the rest of the world combined.

Image from eia.gov
Image from eia.gov
Coal remains the most widely used energy source in China due to its low cost – the country is the largest user of coal electricity in the world. Along with its own vast coal resources – about 114 billion tons produced as of 2011 according to the World Coal Association – China also imports large quantities of coal, since the country's coal-mining regions are often far from the areas where it is in demand. "The Asian market is the fastest-growing coal market in the world," Brookings Institution energy analyst Charles Ebinger told Mother Jones magazine. 
China's heavy use of coal is believed to be one of the reasons the capital Beijing recently witnessed its worst air pollution in years. For two weeks, Beijing's air was labeled worse than “very unhealthy” and “hazardous.” Authorities have closed 103 factories and taken 30 percent of government vehicles off the roads, but with little effect.
Air pollution in China hit a record high earlier this month: 30 to 45 times above recommended safety levels. Beijing itself became blanketed in a thick, toxic cloud that grounded flights and forced people indoors.
Vehicles drive through the Guomao Bridge on a heavy haze day in Beijing′s central business district January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Vehicles drive through the Guomao Bridge on a heavy haze day in Beijing's central business district January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
The report is the highest-level acknowledgment to date of the hazardous air quality levels across much of China.
"We should take effective measures to speed up the enhancement of our industrial structure, push for energy conservation and build an ecological civilization," Chinese premier Wen Jiabao announced on state television.
However, the measures undertaken by the Chinese government do not include replacing coal production and consumption with more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Rather, the IEA predicted the opposite: Coal consumption will grow not only in China, but also in India and other developing economies, and this trend will prevail until clean energy prices can compete with coal.
Notably, wind power recently surpassed nuclear power production in China, and is now the country’s third-biggest source of electricity, second to hydropower, according to a recent report by the China Wind Energy Association.



Buildings and cars are pictured on a heavy hazy day during winter in Beijing′s central business district, January 30, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Buildings and cars are pictured on a heavy hazy day during winter in Beijing's central business district, January 30, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Visitors take pictures on Tiananmen Square during a foggy day in central Beijing, January 29, 2013.(Reuters / China Daily)
Visitors take pictures on Tiananmen Square during a foggy day in central Beijing, January 29, 2013.(Reuters / China Daily)
A combination photograph shows people wearing masks on a heavy haze day during winter in Beijing January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
A combination photograph shows people wearing masks on a heavy haze day during winter in Beijing January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)

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