Monday 24th October 2016                 Change text size:

World Bank: cutting pollutants will save millions of lives

Lars Plougmann via flickr

The World Bank has called for a global effort to cut short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), such as black carbon and methane, which accelerate climate change and threaten the lives of the world’s poorest people.

In the report On Thin Ice: How Cutting Pollution can Slow Warming and Save Lives the World Bank has stressed the impact that SLCPs have on people and the cryoshpere – the series of glaciers and permafrost regions.

SLCPs include soot (also known as black carbon), methane, tropospheric ozone and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Not only they are substantially contributing to global warming, but they also are extremely pollutant and are harmful to people and agriculture.

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank said, “The health of people around the world will improve greatly if we reduce emissions of black carbon and methane. Limiting these emissions also will be an important contributor to the fight against climate change.

“The damage from indoor cooking smoke alone is horrendous – every year, 4 million people die from exposure to the smoke. With cleaner air, cities will become more productive, food production will increase and children will be healthier.”

The report urges the world’s countries to take measures on diesel vehicles, oil and gas flaring, stoves and fuels’ use in order to cut the emission of these pollutants.

Pam Pearson, director of the International Cryoshpere Climate Initiative, who produced the report, said, “If warming continues unabated, the risks from continuing sea level rise, flooding and water resource disruption rise dramatically. This report makes clear that slowing cryoshpere warming is an issue of global concern. Also, that action to cut SLCPs must take place in concert with ambitious efforts to cut long-lived greenhouse gases.”

In October, the World Health Organisation classified outdoor air pollution as the most widespread environmental carcinogenic, as it found evidence that it was linked to lung and bladder cancer. Another earlier study revealed that women exposed to urban pollution are more likely to give birth to underweight babies.

Further reading:

World Health Organisation: air pollution is carcinogenic to humans

Urban air pollution increases low birth weight risk

‘Safe’ pollution levels can amplify lung cancer and heart failure risks

Government in court over air pollution ‘scandal’

Why our quality of life is sacrificed by the continued use of fossil fuels

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