State of Global Air Report 2020 | UPSC

State of Global Air Report 2020 | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

State of Global Air Report 2020

      WHY IN NEWS:

Air pollution killed 116,000 Indian kids within a month of birth in 2019

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Reports

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS this is important report . Go through the comparisons , suggestions and the remarks .

For MAINS go through the criticism of National Clean Air program mentioned in this report . Let us dive in !

      ISSUE: 

Air pollution was the 4th leading risk factor for early death worldwide in 2019, surpassed only by high blood pressure,tobacco use, and poor diet.

STATE OF GLOBAL AIR REPORT 2020

TITLE

  • State of Global Air Report 2020 –A global report card on air pollution exposures and their impacts on human health.

PUBLISHED BY

  • Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI)

IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS FROM THE REPORT

  • AMBIENT FINE PARTICLE AIR POLLUTION : Ambient fine particle air pollution refers to PM2.5 (i.e., particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in aerodynamic diameter, and less than a 30th of the diameter of a human hair).
  • SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC INDEX (SDI) : A country’s SDI is calculated based on average income per person, educational attainment, and total fertility rate (number of children per woman). It varies from zero to one.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The highest annual average exposures were seen in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
  • More than 116,000 infants in India died within a month of birth in 2019 due to air pollution.
  • Globally, 476,000 infants died in their first month of life in 2019 from health effects associated with air pollution exposure.

In 2019, over 90% of the world’s population experienced annual average PM2.5 concentrations that exceeded the WHO Air Quality Guideline of 10 μg/m3.

  • Household air pollution accounted for 64% of all neo-natal deaths attributable to air pollution
  • Infant deaths in India were followed by those in Nigeria (67,900), Pakistan (56,500) and Ethiopia (22,900).
  • It is thought that air pollution may affect a pregnant woman, her developing foetus, or both through pathways similar to those of tobacco smoking.
  • Air pollution is a well-known risk factor for low-birth weight and preterm birth.
  • It added that pollutants may initiate systemic inflammation or oxidative stress, which affects the health of both the pregnant woman and her baby.

India also saw a 61 per cent increase in overall deaths attributable to PM2.5.

  • Meanwhile, it had the highest annual average PM2.5 exposure in the world in 2019.
  • In fact, India, along with some of the other countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, has continued to experience an increase in PM2.5 exposures since 2010.
  • It is also among the top 10 countries with highest ozone (O3) exposure in 2019.
  • Qatar recorded the highest O3 exposure, followed by Nepal and India.

Positive Note:In the past decade, India managed to reduce the number of people exposed to household air pollution to 61 per cent from 73 per cent.

REPORT ANALYSIS

       EXPOSURE TO AIR POLLUTION 

HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED AIR QUALITY?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatically reduced global and local travel, businesses, and halted some industrial activity.
  • While there have been significant societal and personal costs, many countries around the world have experienced blue skies.

Satellites have shown substantial reductions in concentrations of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5.

  • At the same time, levels of ozone appear to have increased, in part due to the reductions in NO2 .
  • As evidence from some countries shows, these changes are only temporary.
  • As restrictions have lifted, emissions have risen — quickly erasing any gains in air quality.

GLOBAL PATTERNS IN AMBIENT PM2.5 EXPOSURE

  • The world’s 20 most populous countries collectively represent 70% of the world’s population.

Although PM2 .5 levels have shown modest improvements in some regions, there has been little or no sustained progress in the most polluted regions .

  • The good news is that 14 of these 20 countries have seen declines in annual average PM2.5 exposures

State of Global Air Report 2020

CREDIT : WWW.STATEOFGLOBALAIR.ORG

AMBIENT OZONE AIR POLLUTION

  • Ground-level, or tropospheric, ozone is a highly reactive pollutant that has adverse effects on human health, as well as on food crops and other vegetation.

Global levels of ozone exposure have been slowly but steadily increasing over the past decade .

  • It is formed by a complex chemical interaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight.
  • Nitrogen oxides are emitted from the burning of fossil fuels in motor vehicles, power plants, industrial boilers, and home heating systems.
  • Volatile organic compounds are also emitted by motor vehicles, as well as by oil and gas extraction etc.
  • Certain types of volatile organic compounds can also be emitted from natural sources, such as trees.

State of Global Air Report 2020

Global map : maximum ozone concentrations (CREDIT : WWW.STATEOFGLOBALAIR.ORG)

HOUSEHOLD AIR POLLUTION

  • Household air pollution results from the burning of various fuels for heating or for cooking using open fires or cookstoves with limited ventilation.

EXAMPLE
Coal, charcoal, wood, agricultural residue, animal dung, and kerosene, among others.

Most people who rely on solid fuels for cooking live in Africa and Asia .

  • Burning these fuels produces an array of pollutants that may harm human health, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5), black carbon, and carbon monoxide.

State of Global Air Report 2020 Houseold

Global map : Household air Pollution (CREDIT : WWW.STATEOFGLOBALAIR.ORG)

AIR POLLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT

  • The least-developed countries suffer the worst air quality

The reduction in exposures to household air pollution is a growing success story, but half of the world’s population remains exposed .

  • China reduced the percentage of its population exposed to household air pollution from 54% to 36%.
  • While India reduced its percentage from 73% to 61% over the decade.

       BURDEN OF DISEASE

BURDEN OF DISEASE FROM AIR POLLUTION

State of Global Air Report 2020

CONTRIBUTION OF POLLUTANTS IN GLOBAL DEATHS

  • In 2019, air pollution contributed to 6 .67 million deaths worldwide .

Ambient PM2 .5 is the largest driver of air pollution’s burden of disease worldwide .

  • Even as exposures to PM2 .5 level off, the attributable burden of disease continues to rise as populations grow and age .
  • Ozone exposure accounts for 1 out of every 9 deaths globally .
  • The largest declines in the burden of disease from air pollution stem from reductions in exposure to household air pollution .

State of Global Air Report 2020

DISEASES VS DEATH RATE

AIR POLLUTION’S YOUNGEST VICTIMS

  • Air pollution accounts for 20% of newborn deaths worldwide, most related to complications of low birth weight and preterm birth.

In 2019, air pollution contributed to nearly 500,000 deaths among infants in their first month of life .

  • Of neonatal deaths attributable to air pollution, nearly two-thirds are related to household air pollution .
  • Babies born in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia face the highest risk .

State of Global Air Report 2020 AIR Neonatal death

NEONATAL DEATHS VS AIR POLLUTION (CREDIT : WWW.STATEOFGLOBALAIR.ORG)

CRITICISM

  • India released its National Clean Air Programme in 2019 with a view to reducing outdoor PM2.5 levels by 2024.

While the program has been criticized for its lack of a legal mandate and its narrow focus on cities.

  • It has led to increased engagement on the issue of air pollution at the state and local levels.
  • In April 2020, the country initiated a switch to Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) vehicle emission standards.
  • Bharat Stage VI is likely to bring benefits over the next few years.
  • However, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns that the full implementation of the switch might be delayed.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • In 2019, air pollution ranked 4th among major mortality risk factors globally, accounting for nearly 6.75 million early deaths and 213 million years of healthy life lost.
  • Over the last decade, levels of PM2.5 exposure have remained high or increasing particularly in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Marked disparities in air quality among regions have barely changed over the last decade .

     SOURCES:DOWNTOEARTH | State of Global Air Report 2020

 

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