With the increase in temperatures, insects which were until now confined to tropics are now spreading in the Europe. The article lists a number of food, air and water borne diseases which are increasing in Britain as well as the problem of storms, floods and droughts.
In a study conducted by a team from Indian Institute of Technology on the commercial kitchens in Mumbai, India, it was found that these kitchens contribute 23% of the total pollution load (Mumbai Newsline, Basu, May 1, 2007). While the acceptable standards for outdoor air quality is 60 micrograms particulate matter concentration per cubic meter for residential areas and 120 for industrial area, it was found to be as high as 567 in some of these commercial kitchens. The carbon dioxide concentration was also above 1000 parts per million, an indication of poor air quality.
Another disturbing article appeared in The Australian (Prichard, Taylor, April 30, 2007). The Magellan Metals lead mine, which exports the metal through the port town of Esperance, was found transporting the metal 900 kilometers in dusty granular form rather than heavier pellets, thus contaminating the air. A state parliamentary inquiry is expected to investigate into the deaths of 4000 birds, high blood-levels in the residents and the poisoning of the towns water tank. The Government agencies knew about breach of norms from 2004.
Although the above mentioned news articles come from four different continents and represent different kind of problems, they all represent environmental health issues that can only be addressed by deep commitments on the part of the respective governments. While steps have been taken in New Jersey to reduce the level of toxins in the Hackensack River, the Mumbai government is still unaware of a major contributor to the city's air pollution problem. While the British hospitals are preparing in advance to handle the problems caused by global warming, the Western Australian Government had knowingly allowed breach of environmental and mine safety conditions.
The New Jersey government has taken positive steps to reduce the pollution in their river and have been successful to a great extent. The article proposes carrying out studies to measure the level of pollutants in the river every three to five years. This would be a welcome step and will ensure that the cleaning process of the river is not reversed.
Global warming is a reality in today's world and can no longer be ignored. Cities across the world are facing the consequences of higher temperatures due to emission of greenhouse gases. While it is prudent to be prepared in advance for these consequences, we also need to take steps to try and reverse global warming. If the highly polluted Hackensack River can be brought under control, all it needs is political will to make the world a safer place for our children. Most countries have stringent norms to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. But these countries need to better coordinate their efforts for better and quicker results.
But before any government can implement any new measures to control air pollution, it needs to be aware of the factors causing this pollution. The study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, was a step in the right direction. But the Indian government needs to authorize many more