Sunday, Apr 23 2017 | Time 11:00 Hrs(IST)
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  • Irrigation advisor Vidyasagar Rao hospitalised
  • US Vice President Pence tries hand at koala diplomacy Down Under
  • NIE develops smart cradle for abandoning newborns
  • CM Kejriwal, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan cast vote for MCD polls
  • Demand increased in hill resorts to stay cool
  • Warm morning in Delhi, minimum settles at 26.8 C
  • ......
  • BJP's 2019 poll plans guided by Opp. challenge, fear of anti-incumbency
  • ....
  • Govt keen for Indian handicrafts to counter machine-made products
  • Japanese ships join US carrier for drills as it nears Korean waters
  • Australian Open venue to get new stadium
  • Australian Open venue to get new stadium
  • Delhi LG Anil Baijal casts vote for MCD polls
  • TV PROGRAMME DD SPORTS
World Share

Pollution does not cause premature death

By Agnieszka Barteczko
WARSAW, Feb 17 (Reuters) Pollution does not shorten people's lives, a senior Polish government minister said on Friday, downplaying the growing issue of air quality in a country that has been nicknamed the China of Europe.
Poland has the dirtiest air on the continent, activists say, due in part to extensive coal and garbage-burning by households. Climate activists say pollution leads to more than 40,000 premature deaths in Poland a year.
Cities such as Warsaw, Katowice and Krakow have been blighted by smog this winter, often making the top 10 list of most polluted in the world, overtaking Beijing or New Delhi.
The pro-coal government has been slow to address the issue, with cities trying to deal with the problem individually by closing schools, offering free public transport and asking people to stay inside.
"Let's not give in to demagogy, pollution is sometimes higher due to climate issues, but this is definitely not the reason why someone will live shorter," Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski told a transport conference.
In January, Poland's health minister, Konstanty Radziwill, said that complaints about smog are unconvincing in a country where many smoke.
The World Health Organisation says more than 7 million premature deaths occur every year due to air pollution, with 3 million of them due to outdoor air quality.
A smog alarm is raised in Poland when levels of dangerous dust particles hit a concentration of 300 micrograms per cubic metre on average per day. In France, a concentration of 80 micrograms triggers an alert.
The government took steps to address the issue this winter, following pressure by activists and with public awareness growing, but environmentalists say bolder measures are needed.
The government announced in January plans to monitor the quality of solid fuel and to impose standards on household burners..
Tchorzewski reiterated on Friday that Poland also aims to have one million electric cars and more than half of municipal buses powered by electricity by 2025.
He also promised cheaper electricity for charging them, saying that between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. power would cost 30 percent of its regular price.
The country's parliament is yet to approve any of the proposed measures.
He said, however, that there was no reason why coal dust, which is bad-quality crushed coal, used by some to heat buildings, should disappear from the market.
Environmental groups sent a complaint to the European Commision last Friday about the levels of air pollution in Poland.
REUTERS CJ PR2048
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