The atmosphere needs protection in the face of air pollution, ozone depletion and climate change.
According to the WHO, air pollution is 'the biggest environmental risk to health' and 'a public
health emergency, responsible for millions of premature deaths annually. Globally, 41% of households, over 2.8 billion people, rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating.
countries, solid fuels are typically burnt in open fires and inefficient traditional cook stoves, often
in poorly ventilated cooking spaces. In addition, people exposed to indoor air pollutants for the
longest periods are often those most susceptible to their effects. Such groups include the young,
the elderly, and the chronically ill, especially those suffering from respiratory or cardiovascular
Poor air quality indoors can be especially harmful to vulnerable groups such as children,
the elderly, and those with cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma. Some
of the main indoor air pollutants include:
Tobacco Smoke, Gases Or Particles From Burning Fuels, Chemicals and Allergens.
Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxides, Particles, And Volatile Organic Compounds can be found both outdoors and indoors.
The recent WHO indoor air quality guidelines4 are tailored to the particular needs of developing countries where the burden of household air pollution is greatest. The guidelines recognize the challenges likely to be faced in implementation and provide detailed information on cook stove performance and potential health risks.
Effective implementation of the guidelines will require strong environmental health programme to improve understanding of the complexities of the household air pollution problem
and inform national response.5 Effective air pollution laws and policies require prompt action and cooperation at global, regional and national levels, reaching across most economic sectors6 and engaging the public.7
It is this apparent disconnect between the state of the complex problem and
the law - as well as the urgency of the need to address it8
that motivated us to prepare this special
issue. Some indoor air pollutants and their health impacts are better known and receive more public
attention than others. Smoking bans in public spaces is one of them.
Significance Of Research
This paper is designed to increase the understanding of the atmosphere/exchange of greenhouse
gases and to develop a model which can be used to investigate the human and climatic impact of
greenhouse gases from a natural ecosystem. The research paper will focus on the various factors
which will lead to the problem of climate change in India and also suggest the mitigation guidelines
to combat climate change.
The significance of this study is to understand global environment change and how it will affect
the nature and society of India. The importance of this study is to provide a range of options for
reducing the risks to climate and global change and also suggests the developing actions that allow
joint mitigation for lesser indoor pollutants.
In 2010, household air pollution was estimated to be responsible for 3.5 million premature deaths
worldwide.9 Household air pollution also contributes to outdoor air pollution, causing an
additional 370 000 deaths and 9.9 million disability-adjusted life years globally in 2010.10 There
is strong evidence linking household air pollution exposure with cardiovascular diseases,11/
lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis, lung
cancer, cataract,13 low birth weight and stillbirth.14
Other health outcomes associated with
household air pollution, for which evidence is less robust, include pharyngeal and laryngeal
cancer,15 asthma, tuberculosis, neonatal mortality16 and nutritional deficit. Indirect health effects
from collecting firewood include assault of women and girls, insect (including disease vector) and
snake bites, school absenteeism and musculoskeletal injuries from having to carry large bundles
of firewood on the head and back for long distances.17
The introductory article is structured as
follows. It begins by discussing the sources and impacts of air pollution on human health, the
economy and the environment. The article continues with a discussion of the applicability and
functionality of customary international law, particularly the principles of international
environmental law relevant to air pollution.
It then explains that the legal landscape on air pollution
is fragmented and consists of myriad different regional instruments, as well as global instruments
of a sectored nature (e.g., those relating to shipping and aviation). The article goes on to show the
gaps in the international legal landscape in the coverage of some of the short-lived climate
pollutants (SLCPs). Next, the article discusses the EU's approach to air pollution. The article
concludes with some thoughts on the future of international law and global cooperation on air
Improved cook stoves
Interventions to reduce household air pollution have primarily focused on the promotion and
dissemination of improved cook stoves.18 However, despite the distribution of millions of
improved cook stoves in developing countries over the last three decades, problems with
household air pollution persist.
This limited success is due to several factors, including lack of
awareness of the problem and a lack of affordable stoves and fuels that reduce exposures
appreciably.19 Lack of reliable exposure-response data has also been suggested as a reason for the
failure of improved cook stoves to achieve the desired exposure reductions and health benefits.20
Biologic pollutants include bacteria, molds, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, dust mites,
cockroaches, and pollen. These biologic pollutants can be related to some serious health effects.
Some biologic pollutants, such as measles, chickenpox, and influenza are transmitted through the
air. However, the first two are now preventable with vaccines.
Influenza virus transmission,
although vaccines have been developed, still remains of concern in crowded indoor conditions and
can be affected by ventilation levels in the home. Common pollutants, such as pollen, originate
from plants and can elicit symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath,
dizziness, lethargy, fever, and digestive problems. Allergic reactions are the result of repeated
exposure and immunologic sensitization to particular biologic allergens.
Renewable energy resources
Solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power can serve as safe,21 affordable sources of household
energy while mitigating global climate change.22Most countries have renewable energy potential23
many times their current energy consumption that can be exploited with current technology.
example, many areas of sub-Saharan Africa24 experience daily solar radiation of between 14.4 and
21.6 MJ/m.25 Geothermal resources are abundant in east Africa with great potential for wind power
also present around the coastal regions and eastern highlands.26 The Green Climate Fund is a
promising source of funds to develop the infrastructure required to exploit these renewable energy
The in complete combus tion products of biomas s include suspended particulate
matter, carbon monoxide, poly aromatic hydrocarbons, poly organic matter,
formaldehyde, etc., which have adverse effects on health. The combustion of coal results in
production of oxides of sulfur, arsenic, and fluorine.
Pollutants such as volatile, and semi
volatile organic compounds are produced from resins, waxes, polishing materials, cosmetics,
and binders. Lastly; biological pollutants like dust mites, molds, pollen, and infectious agents
produced in stagnant water, mattresses, carpets, and humid too pollute indoor air for cooking.
Solid fuels are still in widespread use in developing countries and it appears that intervention
efforts are not achieving their desired goals. Providing clean household energy solutions in the
effort to tackle household air pollution in developing countries can also mitigate global climate
change and help to achieve several of the sustainable development goals. In summary, the
traditional legal approaches currently available under international law do not provide a
comprehensive response to air pollution. The current legal landscape has developed on an ad hoc
basis and as a result there are serious gaps in geographical and pollutant/pollution source coverage.
Furthermore, international law does not address the global impacts of air pollution. At the same
time, developing a global treaty on air pollution seems unlikely in the near future. At EU level, the
legal framework also fails to guarantee improved air quality due to problems of low ambition and
poor implementation and compliance. That said, there is hope for strengthened global cooperation
to tackle the persistent air pollution crisis as the issue is rising high in national and global policy
agendas. Such cooperation is likely, however, to be of a non-binding, facilitative and flexible
Actions to reduce household air pollution in developing countries should also help to achieve
important SDG targets (Table 1). Implementation of the WHO indoor air quality guidelines on
household fuel combustion is strongly recommended and requires WHO to provide strong
technical support to countries through their regional and country offices.
This will help achieve a
very important health-related SDG target (3.9). It is within the mandates of environmental
protection agencies in these countries to lead the implementation process but the involvement of
all stakeholders, including communities, and academic and research institutions, is required.
Governments should Endeavour to adequately resource these agencies to effectively take up the
task, and in countries where no such agencies exist, they should be supported by development
partners to establish an agency.
Finally, effective promotion and dissemination of improved cook stoves is also recommended.
This requires the formation of country alliances for clean cook stoves to seek the engagement of
all stakeholders including manufacturers and users and provide a platform for sharing ideas,
addressing concerns and collectively setting sector-wide goals and targets. An important forest
conservation target (SDG 15.2) will be promoted through implementation of this recommendation.
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- European Environmental Agency (EEA), 'Air Quality in Europe - 2016 Report',
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- Breathe Life campaign, which is a global joint campaign led by the WHO, the United Nations Environment
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