Toxic smog invades India and Pakistan

According to recent research, pollution kills 9 million people per year

Toxic smog invades India and Pakistan 

Leer en Español: Niebla tóxica invade India y Pakistán

While the world is negotiating the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Bonn, Germany, India and Pakistan are facing one of their worst public health problems in decades. The images of Delhi, the Indian capital, show evidence of the health risk people are living with due to the strange, thick smog that covers its landscapes. Schools have had to suspend all outdoor activities due to the risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases.

Delhi's pollution levels are 30 times higher than what the World Health Organization recommends; the average pollution in Pakistan's major cities is 4 times higher than what the organization previously stipulated in order to keep health concerns at bay. 

Mohammad Hanif, Pakistan meteorology, explained that the smog was caused by crop burning and the smokestacks alongside the Indian and Pakistani territory. The expert estimates that the smog will dissolve in, more or less, a month.

Harsh Vardahn, the Indian Environmental Minister who is at the Bonn conference, said that India wants to play a constructive role in fighting climate change. The politician explained that his country has a large number of vulnerable people and areas. For example, India's capital, houses more than 26 million people. 

Experts think that low wind speed, the dust from constructions sites, and the fireworks used during festivals -despite them being banned- contribute to the increase of smog.

India is the fourth CO2 producer in the world (6.81%).

According to recent research, pollution kills 9 million people per year. Pollution is related to cardiac, cerebrovascular and pulmonary diseases, the development of malignant tumors and pneumonia, among others. Some research also correlate air contamination with obesity and even dementia. The most vulnerable population are kids and senior citizens. 

The US federal agencies contradict Trump's beliefs

Despite president Donald Trump denying climate change and that the CO2 emission are causing the increase of the planet temperature, US agencies seem to say otherwise.  

According to the first volume of the Climate Science Report of the fourth National Climate Assessment, a legally mandated analysis of the global warming impacts and causes, assured that more than 90% of global warming is caused by humans. The report was made by 13 US federal agencies and explained that global warming is stronger than ever.

The statements within the report reject Trump's beliefs, who questioned climate change and vowed to protect and promote the national fossil-fuel industry. Even Rick Perry, the country's energy secretary, and Scott Pruitt, the Environmental protection Agency chief, have already said that carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of the raise in temperatures. 

However, David Fahey, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), and several authors assured that the 477 pages worth of information is the most comprehensive summary of climate science since 2013.

The study also warned that due to climate change, tidal flooding in the East coast and the Gulf of Mexico are increasing and accelerating for more than 25 cities along the coasts. Forest fires are more frequent in California and the West coast while the snow covered mountain peaks will be a thing of the past.  

 

Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

 

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