Weekly Current Affairs

Notice

  1.  As Indians wake to smoke-filled skies from a weekend of festival fireworks, New Delhi’s worst season for air pollution begins — with dire consequences.
  2.  A new report from UNICEF says most of the 2 billion children in the world who are breathing toxic air live in northern India and neighboring countries, risking serious health effects including damage to their lungs, brains and other organs.
  3. Of that global total, 300 million kids are exposed to pollution levels more than six times higher that standards set by the World Health Organization, including 220 million in South Asia.
  4.  For the Indian capital, the alarming numbers are hardly a surprise. New Delhi’s air pollution, among world’s worst, spikes every winter because of the season’s weak winds and countless garbage fires set alight to help people stay warm.
  5. By next morning to Diwali, the city was recording PM 2.5 levels above 900 mcg per cubic meter more than 90 times higher than the WHO recommendation of no more than 10 mcg per cubic meter.
  6.  Children face much higher health risks from air pollution than adults. Children breathe twice as quickly, taking in more air in relation to their body weight, while their brains and immune systems are still developing and vulnerable.
  7.  The impact is commensurately shocking with 600,000 children younger than 5 across the world dying every year from air pollution-related disease. Millions more suffer from respiratory diseases that diminish their resilience and affect their physical and cognitive development.
  8. Since being identified as one of the world’s most polluted cities in recent years, New Delhi has tried to clean its air. It has barred cargo trucks from city streets, required drivers to buy newer cars that meet higher emissions standards and carried out several weeks of experimental traffic control, limiting the number of cars on the road. But other pollution sources including construction dust and cooking fires fueled by wood or kerosene continue unabated.
  9. The city has launched a smartphone application called “Change the Air” inviting residents to send photos and complaints about illegal pollution sources, from the burning of leaves and garbage in public parks to construction crews working without dust control measures.