Why Paris convenes for Air Pollution Combat?



While Paris focuses on climate change, air pollution kills 400,000 Europeans a year.

IN WIELICZKA, near Krakow, a handful of locals have gathered in a hotel conference room to bemoan air pollution. One woman complains of sinus problems caused by soot; another worries about her children playing outside.  A man grumbles that police rarely prosecute residents for burning rubbish.  It is a tiny gathering compared with the huge climate-change conference that kicked off in Paris on November 30th.  But the issue is as big as the sky.

Europe’s air is less corrosive than it once was, and much less foul than China’s or India’s.  Industrial decline and clean-air policies since the 1950s have brought levels of many pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, fine particulate matter (a dust that can irritate lungs) and nitrogen oxides down over the past few decades.  Yet more than 400,000 Europeans still die prematurely each year because of air pollution, according to the European Environment Agency.

Nine out of ten European city-dwellers are exposed to pollution in excess of guidelines produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Some Quick Facts:

  1. Some of the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide are found in London;
  2. Several cities in Turkey are choked with high levels of PM10 (particulate matter of at most 10-micron diameter).
  3. But some of the worst pollution is in Eastern Europe.60AEA973-4B24-A2FB-9F40-08AAD5DF3F7F.jpg
  4. Researchers at King’s College London have found that a child born in London in 2010 can expect to have his life cut short by nine months as a result of breathing its high levels of PM2.5—the very finest particulate matter—if pollution levels do not change.
  5. Work by Xi Chen of Yale University shows that exposure to high levels of PM10 in China can stunt fetal growth.
  6. Preliminary findings from Jonathan Grigg at Queen Mary University in London show that pollution can change the immune systems in children’s lungs.

Some government efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions have made matters worse.  In Britain, diesel cars have been promoted by successive governments because they emit less carbon dioxide than cars that run on petrol.  In 2001 only 14% of British cars ran on diesel; by 2014, 36% did.  But diesel vehicles emit even more damaging pollutants—and sometimes more than tests suggest.  When we look at International Shipping, the scenario is even stringent.  The International maritime rules and regulations are to be closely watched out as everyday there is something new to cook about.  Follow MFAME closely for all recent regulatory and emission related updates.

Credits: Economist