air pollution Current Affairs - 2020

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November 20: World COPD Day-marked by WHO

The WHO (World Health Organization) and Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) organizes World COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Day on the third Wednesday of November every year. It was first launched in 1997 by WHO, GOLD and other institutes in the US. This year the day is marked to create awareness in the

Theme: All Together to End COPD


COPD is currently the fourth major cause of death in the world. Diagnosing COPD condition is hard and is considered of the majorly under-diagnosed disease. Often the disease is confused with Asthma.

With increasing pollution, it is essential to create awareness about COPD among the public. Experts believe that COPD is likely to increase in the coming years with increasing pollution.

Creating awareness about the disease also becomes important as it is not curable but is preventable.


India has to increase its awareness campaign on COPD for two reasons namely pollution and smoking. India is home to 3 of the 10 highly polluted cities in the world according to the Skymet report. It includes Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. According to WHO, 12% of world smokers are from India.

In India the prevalence of the disease has increased by 29.2% between 1990 and 2016 according to the International Journal of Pulmonary and Respiratory Sciences. The highest incidence of the disease in the country is in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

What is COPD?

COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It causes severe breathlessness and predisposes to exacerbations.

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UNICEF Report: India Second largest in Pneumonia deaths

On November 14, 2019, United Nations’ new report on Pneumonia stated that India has the second largest deaths of children under the age of five due to Pneumonia in 2018. Globally more than 800,000 children died due to Pneumonia under the age of 5.

The report stated that though the disease is preventable through vaccines, more than 10 million die annually due to the disease


  • The five countries that were responsible for more than half of child deaths due to Pneumonia were Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia
  • Pneumonia is responsible for 15% of deaths in children under 5.
  • The report named the disease as “Forgotten Epidemic”
  • Around half of pneumonia deaths are associated with air pollution

Highlights: Causes

The report mentions the following as the causes of Pneumonia in children under the age of 5

  • Inadequate Health Care
  • Lack of access to drinking water
  • Indoor Air Pollution
  • Burden of under nutrition

Highlights: Suggestions

The report suggests following suggestions

  • Increased investments to fight against the disease
  • Strong Global Commitment and an integrated platform. Countries should come together to exchange ideas and pneumonia eradication measures

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