Monday, November 23, 2009


Serious environmental health problems affect millions of people who suffer from respiratory and
other diseases caused or exacerbated by biological and chemical agents, both indoors and outdoors. Millions are exposed to unnecessary chemical and physical hazards in their home, workplace, or wider environment.

Concern about the health effects of the high levels of air pollution observed in many mega cities is growing; moreover, it is likely that this problem will continue to grow because countries are trapped in the trade-offs of economic growth and environmental protection. Population in urban areas are at risk of suffering adverse health effects due to rising problems of severe air and water pollution.

Cooking and heating with solid fuels on open fires or traditional stoves results in high levels of indoor air pollution. Indoor smoke contains a range of health-damaging pollutants, such as small particles and carbon monoxide.

Indian women spend nearly 60% of their reproductive life in either pregnancy or breast-feeding.
Most of the women keep their children in the kitchen when they are cooking, thereby exposing the children to the pollutants too. This, combined with malnutrition may retard growth and lead to smaller lungs and a greater prevalence of chronic bronchitis. There is an urgent need for the implementation of control programs to reduce levels of particulate and other pollutant emissions. To be effective, these programs should include the participation of the different stakeholders
and initiate activities to identify and characterize air pollution problems, as well to estimate
potential health impacts. A full understanding of the problem and its potential consequences for the local setting is essential for effectively targeting interventions to reduce the harmful impacts of air pollution.

Monitoring of air and water quality is crucial for devising programmes and policies related to pollution management. Establishing a reasonably adequate monitoring network with contemporary technology will be given priority. Ways of linking treatment of sewage and industrial effluents to the urban and industrial development planning need to be worked out. The goal should be to ensure that by the end of the Eleventh Plan no untreated sewage or effluent flows into rivers from cities and towns.

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