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1482895473375Forget Beijing, world’s worst air has Mongolians seeing red Levels of particulate matter in the air have risen to almost 80 times the recommended safety level set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – and five times worse than Beijing during the past week’s bout with the worst smog of the year.

cruise-pollution-siegerbild_2012-largeAir Quality on cruise ships ’20 times worse’ than in a busy city centre Passengers on a cruise ship could be inhaling “60 times higher concentrations of harmful air pollutants ” than they would in natural air settings, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU), a German environmental association, has warned.

 

pollution2Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women Tiny particles that pollute the air — the kind that come mainly from power plants and automobiles — may greatly increase the chance of dementia, including dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease, according to USC-led research.

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From Oslo to Paris, these major cities have plans to go car-free

Oslo is one of 12 cities which plans to phase out cars in the near future.

In late 2016, Madrid’s Mayor Manuela Carmena reiterated her plan to kick personal cars out of the city center.

On Spanish radio network Cadena Ser, she confirmed that Madrid’s main avenue, the Gran Vía, will only allow access to bikes, buses, and taxis before she leaves office in May 2019. It’s part of a larger effort to ban all diesel cars in Madrid by 2025.

But the Spanish city is not the only one getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel.

Here are 12 cities leading the car-free movement.

Oslo will implement its car ban by 2019.

Oslo plans to permanently ban all cars from its city center by 2019 — six years before Norway’s country-wide ban would go into effect.

The Norwegian capital will invest heavily in public transportation and replace 35 miles of roads previously dominated by cars with bike lanes.

“The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful,” says Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an organization that supports bikers in New York City and advocates for car-free cities.

Madrid’s planned ban is even more extensive.

Madrid plans to ban cars from 500 acres of its city center by 2020, with urban planners redesigning 24 of the city’s busiest streets for walking rather than driving.

The initiative is part of the city’s “sustainable mobility plan,” which aims to reduce daily car usage from 29% to 23%. Drivers who ignore the new regulations will pay a fine of at least $100. And the most polluting cars will pay more to park.

“In neighborhoods, you can do a lot with small interventions,” Mateus Porto and Verónica Martínez, who are both architects and urban planners from the local pedestrian advocacy group A PIE, told Fast Company. “We believe that regardless of what the General Plan says about the future of the city, many things can be done today, if there is political will.”

People in Chengdu will be able to walk anywhere in 15 minutes or less.

Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill designed a new residential area for the Chinese city. The layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes.

While Chengdu won’t completely ban cars, only half the roads in the 80,000-person city will allow vehicles. The firm originally planned to make this happen by 2020, but zoning issues are delaying the deadline.

Hamburg is making it easier not to drive.

The German city plans to make walking and biking its dominant mode of transport. Within the next two decades, Hamburg will reduce the number of cars by only allowing pedestrians and bikers to enter certain areas.

The project calls for a gruenes netz, or a “green network,” of connected spaces that people can access without cars. By 2035, the network will cover 40% of Hamburg and will include parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and cemeteries.

Bikes continue to rule the road in Copenhagen.

Today, over half of Copenhagen’s population bikes to work every day, thanks to the city’s effort to introduce pedestrian-only zones starting in the 1960s. The Danish capital now boasts more than 200 miles of bike lanes and has one of the lowest percentages of car ownership in Europe.

The latest goal is to build a superhighway for bikes that will stretch to surrounding suburbs. The first of 28 planned routes opened in 2014, and 11 more will be completed by the end of 2018. The city has also pledged to become completely carbon-neutral by 2025.

Paris will ban diesel cars and double the number of bike lanes.

When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all.

As of July 2016, all drivers with cars made before 1997 are not permitted to drive in the city center on weekdays. If they do, they will be fined, though they can drive there freely on the weekends.

The mayor says Paris also plans to double its bike lanes and limit select streets to electric cars by 2020. The city also continues to make smaller, short-term efforts to curb emissions — its first car-free day was in 2015, and it instated a car-free Sundays rule in May 2016.

Athens is also joining the diesel ban.

In December 2016, Athens, Greece announced it will ban diesel cars from the city center by 2025.

The initiative serves as an attempt to improve the city’s air quality. Athens already restricts diesel vehicles from the city center on certain days based on their plate numbers, but Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis says his goal is to eventually remove all cars from the area.

London will charge you for congestion.

Just like Paris, the mayor of London says the city will ban diesel cars by 2020.

Currently, the city discourages the use of diesel engines in some areas of the city by charging a fee of $12.50 per day for diesel cars that enter during peak hours. They call it a “congestion charge.”

“London is already talking about an ultra low emission zone, banning all sorts of diesel vehicles,” Stephen Joseph from the Campaign for Better Transport toldThe Telegraph. “This is not unlikely that they will be banned altogether in the same way Paris has done.”

Brussels features the largest car-free area in Europe.

Most streets that surround Brussels’ city square, stock exchange, and Rue Neuve (a major shopping street) have always been pedestrian-only. The roads make up the second largest car-free zone in Europe, behind Copenhagen.

In 2002, Brussels launched its first “Mobility Week,” which was meant to encourage public transportation over private transport. And for one day this September, all cars will be banned from the entire city center.

The city is looking for more ways to expand its car-free zones — one proposal would turn a popular four-lane boulevard into a pedestrian-only area. In February 2016, Brussels announced that diesel cars made prior to 1998 will be banned starting in 2018.

Mexico City hopes to ban about two million cars from the city center.

In April 2016, Mexico City’s local government decided to prohibit a portion of cars from driving into the city center two days every work week and two Saturdays per month. It determines which cars can drive on a given day using a rotating system based on license plate numbers.

According to the Associated Press, the policy applies to an estimated two million cars and helps to mitigate the city’s high smog levels.

Vancouver is giving more street space to bikes and pedestrians.

While many of the aforementioned cities have enforced car bans, Vancouver has persuaded an increasing number of residents to commute by public transport.

As Citylab notes, people in Vancouver take half of all trips by foot, bike, bus, or subway as of 2015. This is considerably more than any US city of comparable size, including Seattle (21%) and Philadelphia (27%), according to a 2015 United Nations report.

The city’s car-free movement might have been spawned by urban design decisions, according to the nonprofit Streetfilms, which recently interviewed key planning officials. Efforts include turning part of a major avenue, called Granville Street, into a pedestrian mall in the 1970s and expanding the bike lane network in 2008.

The city also hosts a car-free day every June, when it bans cars from busy blocks and sets up a street festivals.

New York City is decreasing car traffic in small doses.

Though New York City isn’t planning a car ban anytime soon, it is increasing the number of pedestrian areas, along with bike share, subway, and bus options.

Strips of land in popular areas like Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square Park are permanently pedestrian-only. On three Saturdays in August 2016, hundreds of thousands of people will take advantage of Summer Streets, an annual event that prohibits cars from driving on a major thoroughfare connecting Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, and opens roads for pedestrians.

“This is what everyday life could look like as if people mattered,” says Paul Steely White. “The worst thing as an urban dweller is to be stuck with the auto as your only option.”

Transportation Alternatives also hopes to work with the city to create more pedestrian plazas. White says urban planners are no longer trying to optimize New York City and other places for drivers, and are instead thinking about cities differently.

“Cities are coming to the realization that they need to swing the pendulum the other way,” he says.

Source: From Oslo to Paris, these major cities have plans to go car-free | World Economic Forum

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Two Indians die every minute due to air pollution: Study

Air pollution has today become a serious issue for health with reports claiming that it is the fourth leading risk factor for premature deaths worldwide and fifth largest killer in India.

According to a new study, the air Indians breathe is turning more toxic by the day and an average of two deaths take place daily due to air pollution. Children and senior citizens are at the high risk of getting affected due to inhaling of unhealthy air.

The study published in medical journal The Lancet, said that over a million Indians die every year due to air pollution and some of the worst polluted cities of the world are in India.

The study released this week but based on 2010 data estimated that globally 2.7-3.4 million preterm births may be associated with PM2.5 exposure and South Asia is the worst hit accounting for 1.6 million pre-term births.

The study said that causes of air pollution and climate change are intricately linked and needed to be tackled together.

The Lancet concluded that climate change posed both a potentially catastrophic risk to human health while conversely being the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century if the right steps are taken.

The smog over northern India is extracting a heavy toll, every minute two lives are lost in India due to ambient air pollution, the study said.

Patna, Delhi worst polluted cities

Recently, 48 leading scientists released the study and they find that Patna and New Delhi the worst polluted cities of the world for PM 2.5 levels or the fine particulate matter that hurts the heart most.

The study noted that a broader evidence base on interrelated health and climate change trends will notably help demonstrate clear co-benefits of action.

An estimated 18,000 people die every day due to air pollution exposure, making it the world’s largest single environmental health risk.

The World Bank in turn estimated that it costs the global economy USD 225 billion a year in related lost labour income.

Coal power plants contribute 50% pollution

Contradicting some of the Indian reports, The Lancet said that coal-fired power stations contribute to 50 per cent of the ambient air pollution.

Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave recently admitted in Parliament that the country spends a mere Rs 7 crore annually on monitoring air pollution for a vast country of India’s size with a 1.3 billion population.

He had also said no credible study to quantify number of people who have developed lung and allied diseases or number of deaths directly as a result of air pollution is available.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, a trained physician himself, says, “Pollution when it starts affecting lungs especially in little children can be a killer, it is like a slow poison and there is no reason for me not to be worried, a lot has been done, but still a lot that needs to be done.”

Meanwhile, called The Lancet Countdown, this study will report annually in The Lancet.

With inputs from across the world, some 16 institutions are academic partners of the initiative, including University College London, Tsinghua University and the Centre for Climate & Security among others.

This is special collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to promote synergies, collaborate on data sources, and ensure strong engagement with Ministries of Health.

Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Head of the Health andClimate Change team at the World Health Organization, said, “The Paris Agreement was a landmark achievement – the challenge now is to meet the targets agreed by world leaders. The WHO is working directly with countries to provide evidence of the specific health risks that each of them faces, and the health opportunities of a resilient, low carbon future – as well as the support that they need to respond to this defining health issue of our time.”

According to the WHO, compared with a future without climate change, the following additional deaths for the year 2030 are projected, 38,000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48,000 due to diarrhoea, 60,000 due to malaria, and 95,000 due to childhood undernutrition.

The WHO projects a dramatic decline in child mortality, and this is reflected in declining climate change impacts from child malnutrition and diarrhoeal disease between 2030 and 2050.

On the other hand, by the 2050s, deaths related to heat exposure (over 100,000 per year) are projected to increase.

Impacts are greatest under a low economic growth scenario because of higher rates of mortality projected in low- and middle-income countries.

By 2050, impacts of climate change on mortality are projected to be greatest in south Asia. These results indicate that climate change will have a significant impact on child health by the 2030s.

The World Bank estimated that 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution, causing human suffering and reducing economic development.

The reports calls air pollution and climate change a potentially catastrophic risk to human health. The silver lining is that citizens are waking up and the study finds that almost 60 per cent of the people surveyed in India feel climate change substantially harms people.

Source: Two Indians die every minute due to air pollution: Study

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Madrid and Barcelona issued EU ultimatum over pollution levels 

The European Commission has given Spain two months to comply with EU air pollution standards or face a hefty face.

Spain was among five member states to be issued the ultimatum  for failing to address repeated breaches of air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emissions that are mostly caused by road traffic.

Spain has three “air quality zones” that persistently breach NO2 limits, two in Barcelona and one in Madrid.

Air pollution causes an estimated 30,000 premature deaths in Spain each year according to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in November.

Spain, along with Germany, France, the UK and Italy, must show how it intends to comply with EU law within two months, or face a court hearing with the power to impose heavy fines.

Source: Madrid and Barcelona issued EU ultimatum over pollution levels – The Local

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Millions of premature births could be linked to air pollution, study finds

Premature births across 183 countries may be associated with fine particulate matter, a common air pollutant, with Africa and Asia especially affected

Air pollution could be a contributing factor in millions of premature births around the world each year, a new report has found.

Nearly 15 million babies are born annually before reaching 37 weeks gestation. Premature birth is the leading cause of death among children younger than five years old, and can cause lifelong learning disabilities, visual and hearing problems, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.

Researchers for the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have concluded that as many as 3.4 million premature births across 183 countries could be associated with fine particulate matter, a common air pollutant, with sub-Saharan Africa, north Africa and south-east Asia most impacted by the issue.

“Preterm birth and associated conditions are one of the biggest killers of children in the US and worldwide,” said Dr Paul Jarris, chief medical officer at the March of Dimes, a US-based nonprofit focused on maternal and baby health. “Yet, there’s a lot of things we don’t know about what causes preterm birth, so every bit of information we can get is helpful.”

“We have known for a long time that air pollution contributes to asthma and heart disease in adults,” said Jarris. “What I think people fail to recognise is that so many of these risk factors impact babies before they are even born.”

Previous studies have looked at how in utero air pollution might negatively impact babies’ birth weight, or the likelihood that they will be born early. SEI’s study, which examined data from 2010, attempted to calculate how those factors might influence the global rate of premature births.

“By showing in our study that 18% of preterm births are associated with air pollution, we are quantifying the health impacts of fine particulate matter on babies before they are born,” said Chris Malley, an SEI researcher and lead author on the study.

Each year, around one in every 10 babies worldwide are born prematurely, according to the WHO. Africa and south Asia bear a disproportionate burden of premature births, accounting for 60% of all premature births globally. That region also dominated SEI’s report of premature birth associated with air pollution.

SEI’s new report provides an estimate of potential birth impacts associated with air pollution, but the authors acknowledged that the study had considerable caveats because of a lack of research in some of the most affected areas.

Still, two experts who reviewed the study called estimates “conservative”.

A number of factors have been identified in playing a part on premature birth, including poverty, infection, smoking and substance use, physical activity and maternal education. However, even with the report’s limitations, it is still one of the first to argue that reducing air pollution could also be effective in reducing premature births across the world.

Because of a lack of research in regions such as south-east Asia and Africa, researchers used studies conducted in the US and Europe to estimate global outdoor air pollution exposure.

Indoor cooking fires could play a larger role than the study allows for. “The exposure in Asia, and in part in say, China and India, to outdoor air pollution is significantly higher than outdoor air pollution in the US,” said Malley. “So that’s the other part of the uncertainty, that at these higher levels of exposure we don’t know whether this same relationship holds.”

The report focused on one kind of air pollution considered especially harmful to human health: fine particulate matter. This pollution is made up of tiny particles from a variety of emissions, such as diesel emissions and agricultural fires.

The particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, are considered harmful because they can lodge deep in the lungs, affecting the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Past studies have looked at these factors as ways that air pollution may impact preterm birth and low birth weight in babies.

South Asia had the most preterm births associated with particulate matter pollution – as many as 1.6 million associated births. Notably, even though China has a relatively low rate of preterm births, researchers found that as many as 521,000 preterm births could be associated with air pollution because of high concentrations of particulate matter.

A similar study conducted in the US found that air pollution had a costly impact on unborn children, estimating that the economic impacts cost $4.33bn in 2010.

Researchers said the estimates support their conclusion that “reduction of maternal [air pollution] exposure through emission reduction strategies should be considered alongside mitigation of other risk factors associated with preterm births.”

“This is one more reason why we need to be good stewards of the environment,” said Jarris. “The most vulnerable among us – unborn children – are affected, and really in a way that impacts families’ lives for generations.”

Source: Millions of premature births could be linked to air pollution, study finds | Cities | The Guardian

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Air pollution ‘final warning’ from European Commission to UK 

The European Commission has sent a “final warning” to the UK over breaches of air pollution limits.

It said limits had been repeatedly exceeded in 16 areas including London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow.

Germany, France, Spain and Italy were also served with warnings over nitrogen dioxide levels.

The commission said if countries did not take action within two months it could take the matter to the European Court of Justice.

Nitrogen dioxide comes from sources including factories and vehicles, particularly diesel engines.

The commission said more than 400,000 people died prematurely in the EU every year as a result of poor air quality and that millions more suffered respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Under EU law, when air pollution limits are breached member states have to implement air quality plans to bring the levels back down.

Friends of the Earth said it was “shameful” that the UK had breached the limits and called for new domestic legislation to protect people from pollution once it leaves the European Union.

Asked whether the UK would remain bound by any legal proceedings after Brexit, Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said: “For as long as the UK is a member of the European Union, rights and obligations apply.

“European law applies fully.”

Source: Air pollution ‘final warning’ from European Commission to UK – BBC News

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Research on short-term effects of air pollution on the health of airways of children with chronic respiratory complaints 

Starting in 2017, researchers will commence their study in Eindhoven on the effects of days with high air pollution on respiratory complaints, medication use and lung function of children suffering from chronic respiratory complaints such as wheezing or asthma.

Vera van Zoest, doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at the University of Twente is one of the researchers in the project. “We use the information of a high resolution network of air quality sensors in order to map air quality in space and time. By linking this information to the daily variation of asthma symptoms and lung function of children, we gain insight into the effect of air quality on the health of children suffering from asthma.”

The study employs the Innovative Air Measurement System (Innovatief Lucht Meetsysteem, ILM), a sensor network that has been used to measure the air quality in Eindhoven since 2013 on a much more detailed level than currently possible in other cities. The ILM allows for much more accurate recording of the health impacts of air pollution in Eindhoven specifically. The ILM was created by AiREAS, a unique civil initiative in which the local citizens, the municipality of Eindhoven, the province of Noord-Brabant and scientific institutions, including the University of Twente and Utrecht University, all collaborate. Scientists of these universities will conduct the study under the supervision of Professor Alfred Stein.

Reason for the study

Previous studies have shown us that children with chronic respiratory complaints experience more severe complaints on days with increased air pollution. The extent of this effect, as well as the substances that cause these health effects, are not very well known. Research in various countries has demonstrated that the actual effects are not the same everywhere. This is why it is important for a Dutch city like Eindhoven to establish the nature of the health effects, and which substances are most influential. The ILM provides us with accurate information about air quality, which allows us to estimate the level of air pollution exposure for every child much better than we could previously.

Research method

For this particular study, children between the ages of 7 and 11 suffering from chronic respiratory complaints like asthma, frequent wheezing and/or using respiratory medicines (bronchodilators) are asked to answer questions about their medication use and their respiratory complaints daily for a period of four months. They will keep a digital journal to document this. For two months, their lung function is measured twice a day by breathing onto a device as hard as they can.

The air quality sensor network in Eindhoven consists of 35 sensor boxes which give a good overview of the air quality on a daily basis. By using the information of the sensor box closest to the child’s home or school, we know the quality of the air children are breathing in on any given day. This allows us to study whether children experience more severe respiratory complaints, use more medication, or have reduced lung function on days with increased air pollution.

Source: Research on short-term effects of air pollution on the health of airways of children with chronic respiratory complaints — ScienceDaily

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Time is ‘running out’ to protect London children: major air pollution warning from top doctors 

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More than 220 doctors today warned time is “running out” to tackle Britain’s toxic air scandal to protect a generation of young children.

The medics, including more than 100 from London, wrote to Theresa May urging her to start phasing out diesel vehicles as soon as possible to cut harmful fumes on the streets of the capital and other cities and towns.

“A national diesel reduction initiative, led by Government, will represent a major public health advance,” they said.

“However, time is running out, without urgent action emissions from diesel vehicles will cause irreversible lung damage to the current generation of children.”

They highlighted “strong and growing” evidence of a wide range of health impacts over lifetimes from nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and black carbon (soot) emissions.

“For example, in infants and children there is strong evidence, including data from children in London, that exposure to fossil fuel-derived air pollution stunts lung growth,” they explained.

They highlighted that 45 per cent of nitrogen oxide emissions in Greater London come from road transport.

“Modelling has shown that, alongside other measures, the percentage of cars that are diesel will need to be reduced from 57 per cent to five per cent of the total if Greater London is to become compliant with legal limits on NO2 emissions,” they added.

Ministers have so far shied away from a nationwide diesel car scrappage scheme, arguing that air pollution is largely an urban problem, or from changing vehicle excise duty to discourage motorists from buying diesel models.

However, the more than 280 doctors, nurses and other health professionals who signed the letter called for national action to dramatically cut the number of diesel cars, vans, taxis and light trucks.

In the letter drawn up by campaign group Doctors Against Diesel, they emphasised that there are now 585 Air Quality Management Areas across the UK, so most town halls had a statutory duty to take action on illegal levels of air pollution but their hands were tied as they had no powers to ban diesel vehicles.

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Professor Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, said: “In London, we know that diesel engines are a major and unnecessary cause of air pollution along our roads.

“Cutting diesel emissions would have an immediate impact on children’s personal exposure, and improve their long-term health.”

Professor John Middleton, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: “Diesel…is linked to health effects that begin before birth and extend throughout the life course, from childhood lung development and asthma, to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and dementia.

“It is time for diesel to be recognised as the health emergency that it is.”

Scientists estimate the death toll in London from NO2 and small particulate pollution is up to 9,400-a-year, with many more people suffering health problems when toxic air peaks such as in mid-January.

Dr Isobel Braithwaite, a junior doctor at the children’s unit at the North Middlesex Hospital in Tottenham, north London, said: “I’ve seen a lot of patients, including children, come to A&E with asthma attacks, which are much more likely when pollution levels are higher.”

Dr Rajive Mitra, a cycling GP in North Lambeth, said: “I’d advise people heading out onto London’s busier streets to try to walk on quieter roads and walk away from the side of the road.”

Other signatories of the letter include Professor Inderjeet Dokal, Professor of Paediatrics, Centre for Genomics and Child Health, Queen Mary University London, Professor Adrian Martineau, Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection & Immunity at Queen Mary University of London, Sir Andrew Haines, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, David McCoy, Professor of Global Public Health, Queen Mary University London, Professor Chris Griffiths, Joint Centre Lead at the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Professor Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Robert Walton, Clinical Professor of Primary Care, Queen Mary University London, Professor Stephen Holgate, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, Professor John Yudkin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University College London, Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, Honorary Professor of Public Health, Kings College London, Dr Susan Hill, Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, as well as more than 70 GP doctors, registrars, trainees or retired general practitioners.

 

Source: Time is ‘running out’ to protect London children: major air pollution warning from top doctors | London Evening Standard

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Nigeria declares pollution in southern city an emergency, closes plant 

Nigeria declared an air pollution emergency in a major southern city on Tuesday and closed an asphalt plant there after residents complained about the fumes from its furnaces, in a country plagued by corruption and poor governance.

Residents staged a protest in Port Harcourt, a harbor city in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, waving their hands in the air to show the soot stains from touching cars.

“The Federal Ministry of Environment has declared the air pollution in Port Harcourt an emergency situation and has subsequently issued a notice to temporarily shut down an asphalt processing plant…belching out thick smoke,” the government said in a statement.

It did not name the firm, but a state government statement said it was from China.

“If I am having my bath, the color of the water, the stains on the sink are always black,” businessman Charles Adolor said. “Before we can use already-washed plates we have to rewash them again.”

Adolor and his wife and son have been wearing face masks inside their apartment to protect themselves from the soot that covers everything from the windows to the bathroom.

In the Niger Delta’s oil-producing swamps, residents complain about crude spills from broken or blown-up pipelines and acid rain from gas flaring, the burning of natural gas at oil wells.

Source: Nigeria declares pollution in southern city an emergency, closes plant | Reuters

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