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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 756-757
Responding to the challenge of rising air pollution levels in world's poorest cities


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the challenge of rising air pollution levels in world's poorest cities. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:756-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the challenge of rising air pollution levels in world's poorest cities. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 May 26];10:756-7. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/756/196598


Dear Sir,

Globally, air pollution has been recognized as a major environmental risk to the health and well-being of all, irrespective of the settings.[1] In fact, outdoor air pollution affects everyone alike and accounted for almost 3.7 million premature deaths, of which close to 90% were from low- and middle-income nations.[1] Furthermore, 8 out of every 10 premature deaths reported results due to ischemic heart disease and stroke, whereas the remaining has been attributed to respiratory ailments and malignancies.[1],[3]

It is quite an alarming estimate that four-fifths of the people living in the urban areas are exposed to air pollutants much more than the recommended standards, with the situation being extremely worse in low-income cities.[1],[3] It has been revealed that 98% of cities in the low- and middle-income nations do not comply with air quality guidelines.[4]

It is very much obvious that by decreasing the air pollution levels, nations can significantly minimize the morbidities and mortalities associated with the diseases or even ensure better cardiovascular and respiratory health standards of the general population in both long and short term.[2],[3]

There is no doubt that urban air pollution is increasing at an alarming rate, but then the good thing is that even the awareness about the same has increased, and as a result a larger number of cities are monitoring their air quality.[1],[4]

This is an important step, as the availability of a benchmark allows the nations to plan and implement targeted strategies to reduce the levels of air pollutants.[2],[4]

Acknowledging the magnitude of the problem and its impact on the health, quality of life, burden on the health system, productivity, and growth of the nation, the World Health Organization has developed air quality guidelines to systematically assess the health consequences of air pollution, and even establish the exposure range of the air pollutants.[1],[4] In fact, even a set of air pollution indicators have been identified to gauze the health gains achieved from sustainable development.[4] Further, it is important to realize that most of the sources of urban outdoor air pollution cannot be controlled at the individual level, and has to be dealt on a larger scale through the support of national or international stakeholders to eventually facilitate cleaner transport, effective energy production, and waste management.[4],[5]

The good thing is that some of the cities have made considerable improvements by implementing measures like banning the use of coal or adopting renewable source of energy for power production.[4] Thus, the need of the hour is that cities and national governments should prioritize the issue of urban air quality and acknowledge its importance in maintaining the health standards of people and the development of nations.[1],[2],[5]

Furthermore, interventions like establishing standardized air quality monitoring system in each of the nations, encouraging public modes of transport, designing pedestrian / cyclists-friendly streets, empowering local bodies and motivate academic institutes to educate the society, and punishing the violators of the existing laws.[1],[4],[5]

Moreover, the impact of these measures is multifolded as it enables nations' to fulfil their commitment toward climate safety, motivates people to adopt healthy lifestyles, and improve the health standards of vulnerable urban populations.[4],[5]

To conclude, as air pollution affects everybody and the situation is quite serious in urban cities, it is high time that multisectoral strategies are planned and implemented along with the coordination of the members of the community to protect the health and wellbeing of millions of individuals.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health OrganizationAmbient (outdoor) air quality and health Fact sheet N 313; 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/. [Accessed 2016 May 13].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Phung D, Hien TT, Linh HN, Luong LM, Morawska L, Chu C, et al. Air pollution and risk of respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations in the most populous city in Vietnam. Sci Total Environ 2016;557-58:322- 30.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Byrd JB, Morishita M, Bard RL, Das R, Wang L, Sun Z, et al. Acute increase in blood pressure during inhalation of coarse particulate matter air pollution from an urban location. J Am Soc Hypertens 2016;10:133- 9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization Air pollution levels rising in many of the world. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/air-pollution-rising/en/. [Accessed 2016 May 13].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kurmi O, Regmi PR, Pant PR. Implication of air pollution on health effects in Nepal: Lessons from global research. Nepal J Epidemiol 2016;6:525- 7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196598

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