Expert Opinion: The Right To Breathe Clean Air

Expert Opinion: The Right To Breathe Clean Air

As leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly to forge recovery from this pandemic, they have the opportunity and duty to simultaneously tackle the deadly pollution and work to achieve everyone's right to breathe clean air
Air Pollution, Blogs, Environment
- in Air Pollution, Blogs, Environment
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Expert Opinion: The Right To Breathe Clean AirEvery day, thousands of people in India die of illnesses caused by air pollution

The blue skies that appeared in Delhi, Mumbai and other previously polluted cities this year because of the COVID-19 lockdown offered a tantalizing but temporary vision of how bright our future might look. If India can speedily and successfully transition away from fossil fuels and ensure that all families have access to clean cooking technology, those blue skies could become permanent instead of ephemeral.

The world has made uneven and unsatisfactory progress towards the goal of blue skies for all people. As leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly to forge recovery from this pandemic and build resilience to future shocks like it, they have the opportunity — and duty — to simultaneously tackle the deadly pollution our economy spews and work to achieve everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown: As People Stay Home, Earth Turns Wilder And Cleaner

Every day, thousands of people in India die of illnesses caused by air pollution. According to the best available evidence, air pollution causes between 1,241,000 and 1,795,181 premature deaths annually in India. The global total, 7 million premature deaths, vastly exceeds the death toll of COVID-19. It also exceeds the combined total of deaths caused annually by war, murder, car accidents, plane crashes, Ebola, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Among its terrible toll, air pollution kills hundreds of thousands of children aged five and under.

Clean air is critically important to human life and wellbeing. Scientific research on the adverse health effects of air pollution reveals ever greater impacts. It is now indisputable that breathing dirty air causes respiratory illnesses, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, while new evidence suggests links to premature births, diabetes, and damage to the brain. It could even increase the risk of death from COVID-19, by causing the underlying health conditions that make people more susceptible to respiratory illness, early research suggests.

Here’s a strange paradox: in 2010, the United Nations passed a pioneering resolution, recognizing for the first time that clean water is a basic human right. Yet no similar resolution has ever been proposed, let alone passed, for clean air. There are two main categories of air pollution. Outdoor air pollution is caused largely by industry, coal-fired electricity generation, and transportation. Household air pollution is mainly a result of cooking and heating with solid fuels, as well as burning kerosene for lighting. Outdoor and indoor pollution mix together to produce worse air quality. For example, in India, the indoor burning of solid fuels is a major contributor to outdoor air pollution.

Also Read: Air Pollution: Nitrogen Dioxide Levels Fell By More Than 70 Per Cent During COVID-19 Lockdown In New Delhi, Says United Nations

It is shocking that nine out of 10 people globally live in regions where air pollution exceeds World Health Organization standards. The worst air quality is not on the streets of the India’s smoggiest cities. It is in people’s homes, where solid fuels are used for cooking, exposing women and children to fine particles and other pollutants at levels hundreds of times higher than outdoors.

The good news amongst is that air pollution is almost entirely preventable. Proven solutions exist, from strong regulations to clean technologies. As an added bonus, many of the solutions to air pollution also address climate change.

There are seven key steps that states need to take to protect human rights from air pollution. These include: establishing air quality monitoring networks; quantifying the main sources of air pollution; engaging and informing the public; enacting laws, regulations, and air quality standards; developing a national action plan to achieve the standards; allocating adequate resources to implement the plan; and evaluating progress, and if necessary, taking stronger actions.

Also Read: Air Pollution Affects Health Of 82.2 Per Cent People Out Of 1757: Survey

Because cooking with solid fuels causes millions of premature deaths annually, switching to clean cookstoves and fuels needs to be a global priority. India has made impressive progress by providing free LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) stoves to over one hundred million poor families. These stoves dramatically reduce pollution, deliver major health benefits and save time cooking and gathering fuels such as firewood, a benefit that largely accrues to women. LPG stoves also produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than burning solid fuels. This may be the only situation in the world where subsidizing the increased use of fossil fuels makes sense.

Switching all remaining Indian households to clean stoves and clean fuels by 2030 would require an investment of approximately US$2 billion per year. In light of the reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, health benefits, time savings and associated economic opportunities for women, quality of life improvements, reduced pressure on forests (for firewood), this is a fantastic investment. This sum also fits easily within the $100 billion in annual financial assistance that wealthy nations have committed to mobilize for low-income countries to address the challenges of climate change.

Also Read: Amid Coronavirus Lockdown, Air Pollution Levels In North India Hit 20-year-Low: NASA

Other proven solutions include replacing coal-fired electricity with renewables, emphasizing walking and cycling in cities, electrifying public transit, ending fossil fuel subsidies, improving waste management, and helping farmers to shift to cleaner practices.

More than 850 civil society groups have this month signed a letter calling on the Human Rights Council to guarantee our human right to a clean, safe and healthy environment. We can’t have a healthy environment without clean air.

Air pollution clearly violates the rights to life and health, the rights of the child, and the right to live in a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The human rights perspective changes everything, because governments have clear, legally enforceable obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.

Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. That billions of people today are breathing dirty and deadly air constitutes a global health crisis and an egregious violation of human rights. Urgent action from governments across the world is needed. Not only do we have an opportunity to save millions of lives and trillions of dollars in the next decade by reducing air pollution, we have a moral obligation to do so.

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown: 88 Cities Continue To Record Minimal Air Pollution With Restrictions In Place

(David R. Boyd is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and presented a report on air pollution to the Human Rights Council in 2019.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

4,12,26,932Cases
1,19,76,185Active
2,81,19,448Recovered
11,31,299Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 189 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 4,12,26,932 and 11,31,299 have died; 1,19,76,185 are active cases and 2,81,19,448 have recovered as on October 22, 2020 at 4:03 am.

India

77,06,946 55839Cases
7,15,812 -24278Active
68,74,518 79415Recovered
1,16,616 702Deaths
In India, there are 77,06,946 confirmed cases including 1,16,616 deaths. The number of active cases is 7,15,812 and 68,74,518 have recovered as on October 22, 2020 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Mumbai45,478
Thane13,660
Pune9,920
Mumbai Suburban5,363
Aurangabad1,974
Nashik1,575
Raigad1,462
Palghar1,421
Solapur1,291
Jalgaon1,039
Akola757
Nagpur692
Kolhapur646
Satara629
Ratnagiri350
Amravati291
Dhule228
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Ahmednagar190
Nanded176
Yavatmal150
Sangli145
Latur139
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Buldhana88
Parbhani78
gondia69
Beed54
Nandurbar42
Gadchiroli42
Bhandara41
Chandrapur32
Washim13
Wardha11

16,17,658 8,142

1,59,346 15,409

14,15,679 23,371

42,633 180

DistrictCases
Kurnool795
Krishna557
Guntur511
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Chittoor319
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Y.S.R.205
West Godavari199
Srikakulam183
Prakasam104
Visakhapatnam103
Vizianagaram23

7,93,299 3,746

32,376 1,020

7,54,415 4,739

6,508 27

DistrictCases
Udupi1,176
Kalaburagi669
Yadgir538
Bengaluru Urban529
Raichur369
Mandya346
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Hassan205
Davangere204
Vijayapura201
Dakshina Kannada179
Chikkaballapura149
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Uttara Kannada95
Shivamogga67
Dharwad61
Ballari60
Gadag45
Bengaluru Rural40
Tumakuru36
Kolar29
Haveri24
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Koppal5
Kodagu4
Ramanagara3
Chamarajanagara0

7,82,773 5,872

1,00,459 3,505

6,71,618 9,289

10,696 88

DistrictCases
Chennai23,324
Chengalpattu1,314
Thiruvallur774
Villupuram509
Kanchipuram503
Tiruvannamalai496
Cuddalore477
Ariyalur444
Tirunelveli433
Tuticorin333
Kallakurichi324
Madurai322
Salem258
Coimbatore188
Virudhunagar185
Dindigul175
Perambalur133
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Ramanathapuram119
Tiruppur116
Kanniyakumari110
Tenkasi103
Nagapattinam99
Karur88
Namakkal83
Erode75
Vellore71
Thiruvarur67
Pudukkottai53
Sivaganga46
Tirupathur45
Krishnagiri43
The Nilgiris17
Dharmapuri15

6,97,116 3,086

35,480 1,254

6,50,856 4,301

10,780 39

DistrictCases
Gautam Buddha Nagar1,119
Agra933
Ghaziabad794
Meerut504
Lucknow386
Saharanpur298
Kanpur Nagar286
Moradabad252
Varanasi243
Hapur225
Aligarh215
Basti214
Amethi206
Rampur203
Jaunpur194
Firozabad190
Barabanki168
Gorakhpur166
Bulandshahr166
Siddharth Nagar159
Ghazipur159
Bijnor157
Deoria143
Azamgarh138
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Mathura129
Ayodhya120
Muzaffarnagar117
Sambhal116
Sultanpur97
Ambedkar Nagar92
Maharajganj85
Amroha80
Rae Bareli78
Bahraich73
Kheri72
Kannauj69
Baghpat68
Kushi Nagar67
Bhadohi60
Ballia60
Gonda59
Etah52
Hardoi49
Balrampur49
Mau48
Mainpuri46
Etawah46
Hathras43
Unnao42
Jalaun41
Jhansi41
Shamli40
Chandauli38
Auraiya37
Farrukhabad36
Sitapur32
Prayagraj30
Banda27
Shahjahanpur25
Shravasti23
Budaun23
Mirzapur22
Bareilly17
Kasganj16
Pratapgarh15
Pilibhit15
Sonbhadra10
Kaushambi6
Kanpur Dehat4
Chitrakoot4
Lalitpur3
Hamirpur3
Mahoba3
Fatehpur3

4,61,475 2,321

29,364 1,052

4,25,356 3,332

6,755 41

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kasaragod333
Palakkad224
Malappuram119
Kollam118
Thrissur106
Thiruvananthapuram104
Pathanamthitta98
Kozhikode90
Alappuzha76
Kottayam73
Ernakulam60
Idukki40
Wayanad36

3,61,841 8,369

93,527 1,504

2,67,082 6,839

1,232 26

DistrictCases
North West5,463
Central4,817
West4,768
New Delhi3,405
North3,059
East2,472
South East2,446
South West2,391
South2,329
North East1,914
Shahdara1,580

3,40,436 3,686

24,117 195

3,10,191 3,444

6,128 47

DistrictCases
Kolkata2,777
Howrah1,435
24 Paraganas North1,031
Hooghly604
24 Paraganas South281
Maldah235
Dinajpur Uttar216
Coochbehar210
Birbhum206
Medinipur West159
Medinipur East153
Nadia139
Purba Bardhaman130
Murshidabad125
Bankura116
Darjeeling97
Jalpaiguri88
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purulia66
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Alipurduar39
Kalimpong18
Jhargram9

3,33,126 4,069

35,579 409

2,91,303 3,596

6,244 64

DistrictCases
Ganjam581
Jajapur322
Khordha238
Baleshwar190
Kendrapara164
Cuttack155
Bhadrak137
Balangir129
Puri103
Sundargarh102
Jagatsinghapur91
Nayagarh86
Mayurbhanj73
Nuapada69
Gajapati61
Dhenkanal36
Boudh34
Kendujhar34
Deogarh33
Kalahandi33
Sonepur29
Kandhamal28
Anugul26
Malkangiri20
Bargarh16
Koraput16
Sambalpur16
Jharsuguda8
Nabarangpur2
Rayagada2

2,74,181 1,931

18,087 798

2,54,913 2,716

1,181 13

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2,475
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Jagitial77
Nizamabad76
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Mancherial43
YadadriBhuvanagiri40
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Vikarabad40
Nalgonda33
Warangal Urban32
Mahabubnagar30
Sangareddy26
Khammam26
Adilabad22
Nirmal21
Karimnagar17
RajannaSircilla16
Medak11
Kamareddy11
Mahabubabad10
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Nagarkurnool8
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Jangoan8
Siddipet7
Peddapalli5
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Warangal Rural4
Mulugu3
Narayanpet3
Wanaparthy1

2,27,580 1,456

20,183 266

2,06,105 1,717

1,292 5

DistrictCases
Patna279
Bhagalpur266
Rohtas256
Khagaria253
Begusarai243
Madhubani199
Munger188
Jehanabad178
Katihar175
Darbhanga143
Samastipur139
Siwan139
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Banka134
Buxar134
Nalanda123
Gopalganj123
Nawada122
Sheikhpura118
Gaya115
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Bhojpur103
Saran101
Muzaffarpur96
Saharsa88
Supaul87
Vaishali87
Madhepura82
Kishanganj75
Aurangabad75
Sitamarhi73
Lakhisarai72
Araria68
Pashchim Champaran57
Arwal52
Jamui47
Sheohar20

2,08,377 972

11,118 230

1,96,240 1,194

1,019 8

DistrictCases
Kamrup Metro276
Golaghat203
Nagaon143
Hojai89
Dima Hasao86
Karimganj85
Tinsukia84
Cachar80
Dibrugarh61
Hailakandi57
Lakhimpur57
Marigaon50
Dhemaji47
Kamrup42
Kokrajhar37
Dhubri30
Charaideo29
Barpeta28
Udalguri28
Sonitpur27
Jorhat24
Nalbari23
Darrang20
Sivasagar20
Goalpara19
Biswanath16
Baksa14
KarbiAnglong13
Bongaigaon12
Chirang6
West KarbiAnglong5
South SalmaraMancachar4
Majuli2

2,02,774 701

25,807 968

1,76,078 1,664

889 5

DistrictCases
Jaipur2,177
Jodhpur1,748
Udaipur724
Bharatpur563
Kota503
Nagaur500
Ajmer379
Dungarpur374
Pali352
Jhalawar329
Bhilwara250
Sikar231
Chittorgarh188
Tonk171
Jalore164
Rajsamand140
Sirohi130
Bikaner112
Banswara91
Alwar90
Churu81
Jhunjhunu64
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Baran59
Jaisalmer53
Barmer34
Hanumangarh31
SawaiMadhopur26
Karauli17
Pratapgarh14
Ganganagar8
Bundi5

1,78,933 1,810

19,185 1,069

1,57,960 2,865

1,788 14

DistrictCases
Bilaspur100
Korba100
Mungeli87
Baloda Bazar85
Jashpur77
Janjgir-Champa56
Mahasamund54
Rajnandgaon52
Kabirdham52
Raigarh47
Raipur46
Balod41
Korea39
Durg31
Bemetara21
Kanker19
Balrampur17
Surguja14
Gariyaband10
Surajpur9
Dhamtari6
Bijapur2
Bastar2
Dantewada0
Kondagaon0
Narayanpur0
Sukma0

1,67,639 2,360

25,795 86

1,40,216 2,230

1,628 44

DistrictCases
Indore3,839
Bhopal1,880
Ujjain799
Burhanpur351
Neemuch319
Jabalpur276
East Nimar266
Sagar228
Gwalior211
Khargone196
Dewas140
Dhar132
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Bhind87
Raisen71
Barwani60
Ratlam51
Rewa39
Shajapur39
Hoshangabad37
Vidisha37
Chhatarpur35
Betul35
Rajgarh31
Dindori29
Sheopur26
Damoh26
Satna24
Anuppur22
Panna20
Tikamgarh18
Sidhi17
Narsinghpur17
Chhindwara16
Agar Malwa15
Mandla15
Shivpuri15
Jhabua14
Shandol14
Singrauli13
Ashoknagar13
Datia12
Sehore12
Umaria10
Balaghat9
Guna8
Harda4
Alirajpur3
Katni3
Seoni2
Niwari0

1,63,296 1,118

12,386 121

1,48,082 1,222

2,828 17

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17,125
Surat2,311
Vadodara1,555
Gandhinagar410
Mahesana159
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Rajkot135
Arvalli134
Mahisagar125
Anand107
PanchMahals107
Patan105
SabarKantha101
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Jamnagar63
Bharuch56
Botad55
Surendranagar55
Valsad47
GirSomnath45
Dohad43
Chhotaudepur37
Naysari35
Junagadh31
Narmada25
DevbhumiDwarka22
Amreli16
Porbandar11
Tapi6
Dang5
Morbi4

1,62,823 1,137

14,193 52

1,44,970 1,180

3,660 9

DistrictCases
Gurugram2,950
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Rohtak145
Palwal120
Jhajjar114
Karnal104
Hisar98
Ambala93
Panipat78
Nuh68
Bhiwani60
Rewari56
Kurukshetra55
Sirsa50
Kaithal48
Mahendragarh47
CharkiDadri43
Panchkula39
Fatehabad38
Jind38
Yamunanagar19

1,53,367 1,193

10,187 109

1,41,506 1,070

1,674 14

DistrictCases
Amritsar485
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Tarn Taran163
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
S.A.S Nagar137
Patiala132
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Pathankot86
Rupnagar (Ropar)74
Faridkot74
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Moga65
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Firozepur50
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Barnala25

1,29,088 498

4,808 87

1,20,220 562

4,060 23

DistrictCases
East Singhbum170
Ranchi148
Hazaribagh110
Garhwa80
Ramgarh75
Koderma58
Simdega48
Dhanbad32
Gumla28
Palamu27
West Singhbhum21
SaraikelaKharsawan20
Giridih19
Bokaro16
Latehar14
Khunti10
Lohardaga8
Deoghar5
Dumka5
Pakur4
Jamtara2
Godda2
Chatra1
Sahebganj0

98,061 647

6,206 26

91,004 619

851 2

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Srinagar300
Kulgam295
Baramulla271
Shopian255
Kupwara231
Bandipora175
Udhampur155
Ramban151
Jammu138
Budgam110
Pulwama108
Kathua53
Rajouri39
Ganderbal37
Poonch35
Doda27
Reasi26
Samba25
Kishtwar10
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0

89,582 624

8,088 36

80,092 655

1,402 5

DistrictCases
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Tehri Garhwal110
Haridwar94
Udam Singh Nagar83
Almora71
Champawat45
Pithoragarh43
Chamoli36
PauriGarhwal36
Bageshwar31
Rudraprayag30
Uttar Kashi24

59,106 505

5,085 279

53,061 770

960 14

DistrictCases
South Goa69
North Goa57

41,339 308

3,099 102

37,683 408

557 2

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Mahe4
Karaikal2
Yanam0

33,622 170

4,026 75

29,016 242

580 3

DistrictCases
Dhalai196
Sepahijala174
Gomati74
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45
Khowai24
North Tripura14

29,925 125

2,339 116

27,252 239

334 2

DistrictCases
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Una41
Solan32
Chamba29
Bilaspur21
Mandi21
Sirmaur11
Shimla10
Kullu4
Kinnaur2
Lahaul And Spiti0

19,621 264

2,636 40

16,706 219

279 5

DistrictCases
Churachandpur32
Kangpokpi26
Imphal West21
Thoubal18
Imphal East10
Tengnoupal9
Bishnupur7
Senapati6
Chandel5
Kamjong5
Ukhrul4
Jiribam3
Pherzawl3
Kakching2
Tamenglong2
Noney1

16,267 205

3,846 36

12,297 238

124 3

DistrictCases
Changlang31
Papum Pare8
Lohit3
Namsai2
West Siang1
East Siang1
Upper Siang1
Tawang1
PakkeKessang1
West Kameng0
Upper Subansiri0
Tirap0
Siang0
Shi Yomi0
Anjaw0
Lower Subansiri0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Longding0
Leparada0
KurungKumey0
KraDaadi0
Kamle0
East Kameng0
Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0

13,912 134

2,682 30

11,199 164

31

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

13,795 52

744 66

12,842 118

209

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
West Garo Hills5
South West Garo Hills4
North Garo Hills1
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Khasi Hills0

8,621 28

1,870 150

6,674 177

77 1

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Mon8
Kohima7
Kiphire3
Tuensang3
Peren2
Phek1
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

8,139 119

1,683 25

6,428 94

28

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

5,781 86

848 7

4,865 78

68 1

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

4,168 27

199 16

3,913 11

56

DistrictCases
East District3
South District3
North District0
West District0

3,677 34

253 1

3,361 35

63

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

3,207 13

44 5

3,161 8

2

DistrictCases
Kolasib11
Aizawl10
Mamit8
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Saitual1
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Saiha0
Serchhip0

2,341 31

167 22

2,174 9

0

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

0

0 0

0

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Air Pollution Killed Nearly 5 Lakh Newborns Worldwide, Over 1 Lakh In India In 2019: State Of Global Air 2020 Report

According to the State of Global Air 2020 report, air pollution has become fourth leading risk factors for early deaths globally surpassed only by high blood pressure, tobacco use and poor diet