NEW AIR QUALITY NORMS BY WHO | UPSC EXAMS

INTRODUCTION

  • On September 22, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued rigorous air quality standards and decreased the acceptable amounts of pollutants that are safe for human health.
  • WHO has issued new guidelines that take into consideration many recent scientific studies that show air pollution is far more harmful to human health than previously thought.
  • According to it, illnesses related by air pollution and environmental degradation currently account for over 7 million fatalities per year.

DETAILS OF THE NORMS –

  • Previously, a PM2.5 concentration of 25 micrograms per cubic metre in a 24-hour period was deemed acceptable; however, the World Health Organization has recently said that a concentration of over 15 micrograms is not safe.
  • The WHO has lowered the recommended thresholds for six of the most prevalent pollutants: PM10, PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulphur dioxide, all of which have been in place since 2005.
  •  Particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, and particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less, respectively, are the most frequent contaminants and causes of respiratory illnesses.

 

IMPORTANCE OF NEW NORMS FOR INDIA – 

  • The World Health Organization’s (WHO) new guidelines on air quality regulations, according to health professionals and scientists, must encourage India to strive more to make its air safer and cleaner.
  • Even while the new air quality standards do not obligate any country to adopt them, they do have an impact on the country’s international reputation as a desirable tourism and investment destination.
  • According to SN Tripathi, an IIT professor and member of India’s National Clean Energy Program’s steering council, the country has to improve its health statistics and modify its national ambient air quality guidelines.
  • Raw health data is essential for a wide range of health studies as well as research into the impact of air pollution on India’s diverse demographics.
  • When the organisation released the new air quality guidelines, it said that if nations can meet the new air quality criteria, 80 percent of fatalities caused by PM2.5 exposure may be prevented.
  • Although, even meeting the 2005 criteria will save 48 percent of these deaths.

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