air pollution Current Affairs - 2020

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NGT bans open waste burning across the country

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a complete ban on burning of waste in open places across the country and announced a fine of Rs. 25,000 on each incident of bulk waste burning.

The green panel’s judgement was given on the petition seeking directions to local bodies in states and Centre for improving solid waste management methods.

NGT Judgement
  • Complete prohibition on open burning of waste on lands, including at landfill sites.
  • For each such incident, violators will pay environmental compensation of Rs. 5,000 in case of simple burning and Rs. 25,000 in case of bulk waste burning,
  • States and UTs to enforce and implement Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in a time-bound manner.
  • Union Environment Ministry and all States must pass appropriate directions in relation to the ban on short-life Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and chlorinated plastics within a period of six months.
  • Establish and operationalise of plants for processing and disposal of the waste and selection and specifications of landfill sites
  • Non-biodegradable waste and non-recyclable plastic should be segregated from the landfill sites. It must be used for construction of roads and embankments in all road projects all over country.

About National Green Tribunal (NGT)

NGT is a statutory body established by a Government Notification using the powers of Section 3 of the NGT Act 2010. It is a special fast-track court to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It has been established to assure the right to a healthy environment to the citizens of India as enshrined in Article 21 of Constitution.

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Fine particulates causing chronic illnesses: WHO Study

As per the study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) air pollution caused by fine particulate matter (PM) is causing long-lasting disease chronic illnesses.

About a fifth of the 3 million people died worldwide because of exposure to fine PM2.5 which may have aggravated or been directly responsible for cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer.

How WHO study was conducted?

  • The findings were based on data derived from satellite measurements, ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban and air transport models.
  • The study did not tool actual impact of air pollution as it does not include the separate impacts on health from other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) or ozone (O3).

Key outcomes of the WHO study?

  • Air pollution caused by fine particulate matter is the world’s biggest environmental risk to health and it must be addressed on a priority basis as it continues to rise.
  • It could have killed at least 600,000 Indians in 2012 just behind China which witnessed an estimated 800,000 deaths due to air pollution.
  • The impact of fine PM2.5 is felt through a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illnesses that cause premature death. These include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases.
  • PM pollution is an environmental health problem that affects people worldwide, but low- and middle-income countries disproportionately experience the burden.
  • While all regions of the world are affected by the PM air pollution but the populations in low-income cities are the most impacted.
  • Overall, 98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet 10µg/m3 WHO air quality standard of PM2.5. However, in high-income countries, this percentage decreases to 56%.

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Image Source: The Hindu

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