NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Cities and towns in India should establish ‘clean air zones’ to target high-polluting vehicles to help ensure they do not enter city centres, says Blueair, a global leader in mobile indoor air purifying technologies. The call by Blueair comes in response to the growing scientific evidence that car, truck and bus emissions are the biggest contributor to early deaths in cities.
“The sobering significance of road transportation to premature death is scary with people just about everywhere on our planet typically dying a decade earlier than they might have,” said Mr. Bengt Rittri, Blueair founder and CEO.
According to new studies, more than 5.5 million people die prematurely each year due to air pollution with over half of those deaths occurring in China and India, two of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Additionally, Rittri noted how the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has calculated that air pollution is responsible for 10,000 to 30,000 deaths annually in Delhi as it is the fifth leading cause of death in India.
A landmark study published in late February 2016 by two leading UK medical institutions, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, shows how city-dwellers are poisoned by the insidious effects of chronic and persistent air pollution exposure. Looking at the lifelong impact of air pollution, the report said cradle-to-grave exposure to air pollution can contribute to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and dementia.
Mr. Rittri said the scandal of falsified emission claims by some car makers had underlined the need to tackle inner-city air pollution by getting tougher on polluting vehicles. He noted how European cities such as Zurich, Copenhagen, Vienna and Stockholm were leaders in setting policies to promote cleaner urban air by combatting auto emissions.
The Blueair chief executive applauded a new initiative in the UK – where 40-50,000 people die prematurely from diseases linked to air pollution – to launch ‘clean air zones’ in five more cities outside London to limit nitrogen pollution. He also called on countries like China and India to consider congestion charging in major cities and improving public transportation rather than rely on odd-even number plate schemes, which can be circumnavigated by simply buying a second car.
“Indoor air purifiers like those from Blueair help people create safe indoor havens free from airborne pollutants, but we all need to think bigger to become both dreamers and doers to combat the global public health emergency caused by urban traffic pollution,” said Mr. Rittri.