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The Quest For Clean Air

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While a WHO study re-emphasises the need for stronger actions to achieve breathable air, another Greenpeace report points out that India has some of the world’s biggest NO2 emissions hotspots, making India one of the most polluted countries in the world

New Delhi 29th October 2018 | Around 93 percent of children below the age of 18 years live in environments with air pollution levels well above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. A new WHO report titled, Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air estimates that in 2016, 5.4 lakh children under 5 years of age died from respiratory tract infections caused by polluted air. Air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age.

The report echoes the concerns of Greenpeace India’s report titled Airpocalypse II that was released earlier this year, which talked about the impact of air pollution on children. The WHO data again points towards low and middle income countries being heavily impacted by both ambient as well as household air pollution. It is alarming that in India, almost the entire population resides in areas with pollution levels exceeding WHO and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

“Greenpeace has globally released an analysis of new satellite data on Monday revealing world’s biggest NO2 emissions hotspots across six continents. The analysis points out that coal and transport are the two principal sources of emissions. NO2 also contributes to the formation of PM2.5 and ozone, two of the most dangerous forms of air pollution impacting larger regions,” said Sunil Dahiya, Greenpeace India air pollution campaigner.

The list of the largest NO2 hotspots in the world from June 1 to August 31 this year includes well known coal-fired power plants in South Africa, Germany India, and numerous coal-burning industrial clusters in China. Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Dubai and Tehran also feature prominently in the list of 50 NO2 hotspots due to transport-related emissions.

The hotspots in India include, Delhi-NCR, Sonbhadra-Singrauli, Korba- Chhattisgarh and Talcher in Odisha. It clearly indicates a direct link between fossil fuel burning and air pollution in the power and transport sectors.

Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace Nordic air pollution campaigner mentioned, “Just as we have nowhere to hide from the dirty air impacting our daily lives, so too do the polluters have nowhere to hide. This new satellite is our ‘eye in the sky’, from which the culprits – coal burning industry and oil guzzling transport – cannot escape. It is now up to governments to act, with all the policy measures and technologies we have at our disposal, to clean up our air and save lives.”

Notes:
[1] A media briefing is available here. The full list of 50 hotspots can be found in Appendix I; Greenpeace archive images of some of the identified hotspots can be found in Appendix II.
[2] http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=432_AP
[3] Greenpeace Airpocalypse II Report
[4] https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/missions/esa-eo-missions/sentinel-5p
[5]An interactive global map is available to view HERE and can be embedded using the following embed code:
<iframe width=”100%” height=”520″ frameborder=”0″ src=”https://energydesk.carto.com/builder/4c2ece4f-3367-4432-a418-8ce61ca01801/embed” allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>
[6] A detailed explainer of the map is available via Greenpeace’s journalism wing, Unearthed, HERE.
Contacts-
Madhulika Verma; Greenpeace India; mverma@greenpeace.org, +919971137736
Sunil Dahiya; Greenpeace India; sdahiya@greenpeace.org, +919013673250