Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Outdoor Air Pollution’s Relationship to Indoor Air Pollution and Negative Health Effects

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “indoor pollution levels appear to be controlled primarily by outdoor concentrations” (link provided below).

The “Environmental Health Perspective” discusses the nature of ambient air pollution in the Arabian Peninsula. It is characterized by “dust storms, high levels of desert particulate matter (PM), transportation and industry-related emissions, and meteorology-linked smog formation”. These ambient air pollutants “may infiltrate and contribute to indoor air pollution”.

Markers of infiltration from outdoor air sources include SO2, H2S, NO2, HCHO, and PM). All have been linked with respiratory disease symptoms. HCHO and CO have been associated with neurologic symptoms.

A study of 628 households in the United Arab Emirates has shown that these outdoor air pollutants have indeed infiltrated our households. Participants in households with quantified SO2, NO2, and H2S (measured concentrations above the limit of quantification) were twice as likely to report doctor-diagnosed asthma. Participants in homes with quantified SO2 were more likely to report wheezing symptoms and speech-limiting wheezing. Do you want these pollutants to infiltrate your home? The respiratory effects can be deadly.




A more detailed discussion of the study can be found at:


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Vlog in Seoul



The video attached is not myself but it is a good representation of my reactions when I visited. As a visitor to South Korea in 2014, I am witness to the terrible air quality within the city of Seoul. Seoul is the highest populated city that I have ever visited before with my second highest being San Diego. With that said, I was very taken by the air quality as it was so clear upon approach to the city but once inside of it you are really unable to see into the distance. I had the pleasure of flying into the city on an Army base in suburb Seoul and making my approach via bus into the city, which is where I noticed the terrible smog that covered the city.

The video attached includes a visitor to the city and the danger that is included in this terrible air quality. The gentleman in the video goes into a more microscopic look at just how people are acting in this situation and how they handle the air quality. Also, he tells us more about the countries surrounding the Korean Peninsula and just who may be contributing to this poor air quality. This provides a more in depth look into what Koreans are experiencing; a much more personal view on the situation.


The Proactive Fight for Cleaner Air in the Philippines

Currently, the air pollution in Manila, Philippines is 70% over the safe level.
Two problems have been prominent in the fight for cleaner air in the Philippines. First, the most common type of fuel used in many vehicles emits more sulfur content then existing alternatives. Because of this, it has been difficult for the Philippines to reach safe levels of total suspended particles (TSP) in the air. Fortunately, started in January 2016, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been involved in switching the more harmful fuel type to a cleaner type. Second, the great amount of traffic occurring in the country means there are more vehicles on the road for a longer-than-necessary amount of time. This almost counters the benefits of switching to cleaner fuel.


Law enforcement has been active in issuing finds to those that are still using vehicles that they call “smoke belchers.” There has also been discussion on implementing a law retiring old cars that have reached a certain age. Other solutions on the table include better transport systems and volume reduction programs. As this goes on in the background, citizens can become proactive in the fight for cleaner air by exploring alternative options. This includes carpooling, making more eco-friendly choices, and becoming more informed on the issue.

This video promotes Breathe Life, a global campaign to raise awareness on air pollution. 


You can click here to go to their website, type in your city, and find out "what air are you breathing?"
http://breathelife2030.org/the-issue/air-quality-in-your-city/

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Hazy Relationship of the Korean Peninsula



An alarming number, more than half of the citizen's in South Korea are regularly breathing dangerously polluted air, which is producing serious health effects for the highly urbanized nation. In 2013, more than 20,000 premature deaths were blamed on the country’s foul air. On an average day, 25 million South Koreans inhale an unsafe amount of microscopic particles of various sizes. These particles get lodged in people’s lungs and other cardiovascular tissues, enter their bloodstreams, and over time they can lead to lower respiratory infections, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.  Even suicides in Korea have been empirically linked to particulate matter and other concentrations of air pollutants like tropospheric ozone.

This is an ongoing problem on the peninsula even as tensions between the South and North continue to rise. It seems as if the true terrorists are ourselves when we are producing these kind of pollutants into the air and hurting future generations. If we are on the brink of another Korean War on the peninsula, air quality is only going to get worse.

Reference:
http://datadriven.yale.edu/air-quality-2/air-pollutions-hazy-future-in-south-korea-2/

Air Pollution Dust Kills in Egypt

With Egypt having one of the worst air pollution, specifically, Cairo is ranked seventh amongst the world of deadliest cities for air pollution. In 2010, a study found there were 6,000 premature deaths linked to outdoor pollution. Researchers at Worldwide, estimate that 5 out of 10,000 people will die prematurely because of outdoor air pollution. In Egypt, that estimate is 4.5 out of 10,000 of the people dying due to air pollution.  

The reason for these deaths is that chronic exposure to these particles is linked to heart disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory conditions. However, we must acknowledge that not all air pollution is caused by men. Researchers estimated that 92% of the deaths caused by pollution in Egypt were linked to airborne desert dust. As the dust is part of the environment and a natural feature of life in a desert there are little ways to prevent this. There is a larger fraction that is caused due to agricultural malpractices and desertification.

So how can the people of Egypt reduce the number of deaths that occur by air pollution when a fraction of those deals with natural environment situations?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Case Study: Vancouver, British Columbia

The Metro Vancouver area includes Vancouver, British Columbia (B.C.) and its neighboring municipalities. Although this urban region is home to over half of B.C.’s population, it makes up less than 4% of the province’s land mass. The City of Vancouver’s civic government has incorporated numerous environmental initiatives and used its regional influence to become the world’s greenest city by 2020. To make real environmental progress on important issues like, like air quality, Vancouver has taken an interdisciplinary approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by incorporating urban planning, transportation engineering, and waste management. To remain accountable the progress is reported in the form of reports titled Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (2016-2017 Implementation Update).


Vancouver requires greater energy efficiency in housing construction and applicable new apartments built in the downtown core, aiming to connect to the existing steam energy grid. The city connects clean air ideas on housing and transportation by encouraging density along rapid transit corridors. Further transportation efforts have reduced vehicle trips per person by 32%, in part, through expansion of the Skytrain light-rail transit system. This effort is coupled with an increase of the bike lane network to 311 kms, many of which are separated from vehicle traffic for cyclist safety.

The City of Vancouver has made its fleet more fuel efficient by procuring electric or hybrid cars to conduct city business. In the field of waste reduction, additional GHG reductions include an improved bio-methane capture system at the city-owned landfill, which reportedly captures 74% of the gas produced. The city continues to close this loop by moving to natural gas equipment, such as garbage trucks that can then use this for fuel. Further, regional regulations now require all residential and commercial organic food and plant waste to be separated from the garbage stream for composting. The project results have been astounding, and since 2007 the citizens of Vancouver now send 27% less waste to the landfill or incinerator. The environmental benefits of composting organic material come from a significantly reducing the transportation of materials to a local processor, and eliminating the production of methane gas, which is 25 times more harmful than the Carbon Dioxide used in composting.

Even though Vancouver continues to grow as a city, it is nearly halfway to reaching its goal to reduce GHG emissions by 33% of 2007 levels. These achievements are despite the Conservative Party withdrawing Canada from its Kyoto Protocol obligations in 2012. The steps Vancouver has taken are politically difficult and financially costly to implement, however, highlight the impact of the determined citizens can make.
Source: Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (2016-2017 Implementation Update)

Olympic sized problem: Rio Air Pollution

As an athlete competing at the Olympics, having optimum weather conditions is obviously important. But when the air quality itself places athletes on a weak foundation to be competitive, the location might come into question as a poor choice to host the games. This is exactly what happened with the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. Beijing is the only other host of the Olympics to have dirtier air conditions than Rio since the 1980 Olympic games.



Although the most popular topic of conversation originally surrounded Rio's water pollution, critics snapped back stating that athletes can avoid drinking Rio water, but they can't avoid breathing Rio air. Although those in charge of organizing the Rio Olympics argued that the data being evaluated in regards to the air pollution could not be looked at and judged solely, others argued back saying that the severity of the pollution was grounds enough for concern. Although the Olympic games in Rio were still held, it wasn't without concern from athletes and coaches.

To learn more about how measuring air quality works, check the link below

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3286513/

Cooking up Air Pollution in Brazil

Brazil's air pollution has been a topic of conversation for quite some time now. Air pollution doesn't just come from nowhere and in Brazil's case, interestingly enough, cooking is a large culprit for rising pollution. Air pollution claims the lives of about 49,000 Brazilians each year. Just under half of these pollution related deaths are caused by the burning of wood and assorted solid fuels as it pertains to cooking in the Brazilian home.


This is not an insignificant number. About 19 million Brazilians use wood to cook in their homes, and because of this, these particular individuals are far more susceptible to pollution exposure and face a higher likelihood of dying as a result. The lack of chimneys paired with the open fire style of cooking has lead air pollution levels to jump to hazardous levels in rural areas.

To learn more about the severity of air pollution as a result of cooking in Brazil, head over to the link below

http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/publication/brazil-perspectives-air-pollution

Thailand: Electric Car Ride Share

In a country that is known for its busy roads and large amounts of varying taxi-type cars (Red Trucks and Tuk Tuks) Thailand is venturing into the world of ride sharing. A university in Bangkok is testing the waters with ride sharing in order to combat the congested city streets and the large amount of air pollution that comes from it. Toyota has made a deal to send 30 electric ride sharing cars to a University in Bangkok for students and locals to use instead of their own personal cars or taxis which run on gasoline. The article goes on to define the purpose of this experiment, "The Japanese automaker and the university will study the effects on curbing traffic congestion and air pollution, both serious problems for emerging countries." 

Unlike the US, Thailand has been welcoming of the idea of switching to electric vehicles and encourage growth within the industry. 

Read more on Electric Ride Sharing in Thailand here: 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Toyota-to-roll-out-electric-car-sharing-in-Thailand

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1301622/toyota-to-test-mini-ev-sharing-service-in-thailand

Residents in Jamaica choking.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide, more children than adults.  Most people probably know someone with a chronic respiratory disease, or may suffer from one themselves.  Imagine a place where the air quality is so horrible, people with respiratory illnesses are told to flee the area; scary, right?  Well in February, residents in Portmore, Jamaica were warned that their city has the worst air quality in the whole country, mainly because of unregulated garbage dumps and illegal garbage burning.  Doctors were seeing patients with respiratory illnesses worsen significantly enough to recommend they relocate, as the air quality was only expected to further deteriorate.  The air had a higher than average composition due to particles both solid and semisolid being released into the atmosphere.  Because the government could not legally halt facilities that were releasing emissions into the air, residents with respiratory illnesses either had to relocate or face the situation of their declining health. 


To learn more about the problem in Portmore, visit:

To read more about respiratory diseases see WHO’s cite:

Air Pollution Contributes to the Leading Causes of Morbidity and Mortality in the Philippines

Exposure to air pollution has been known to cause adverse health effects. According to an article on air pollution and population health, "high-risk subgroups include young children, the elderly, persons with predisposed diseases, and persons with low socioeconomic status (SES)." It then isn't hard to see how consequential air pollution has been on the people of the Philippines. Approximately 37% of its population are either young children or are elderly, with about 21.6% of the total population living below the national poverty line. This makes a great amount of the country high-risk to exposure of air pollution and its following negative health effects.

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 5.9 million deaths in SE Asia linked to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. These deaths were attributed to diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory infections. In the Philippines, the leading causes of morbidly in 2008, such as acute respiratory infection, bronchitis, and tuberculosis, are diseases consisting of risks that are increased with exposure to air pollution.

The leading causes of mortality in 2006 also consisted of diseases where exposure to air pollution contributes to increased risk. These diseases include heart diseases, tuberculosis, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

In the Philippines where the country is stricken by both high pollution levels and high population densities, its people are at greater risk of the health effects caused by exposure to air pollution. In order to take on the problems leading the list of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines, it is important to address the factor that has contributed to many of those diseases: air pollution.

More information on the health effects of air pollution can be found here:
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2698272/
http://hiip.wpro.who.int/portal/Countryprofiles/Philippines/Healthprofiles/TabId/170/ArtMID/912/ArticleID/41/Default

You can find more statistics on the poverty in the Philippines and other SE Asian countries here:
https://www.adb.org/countries/philippines/poverty

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Younger Generations Don't Get it



Japan has made steps to create a better climate for it’s country, by using green energy for solar and wind, smart grids, green vehicles, and green buildings. But younger generations don’t seem as concerned. A government survey showed that about 75 percent of Japanese people from ages 18 to 29 have expressed interest in climate change, but it is has noticeably dropped from 99 percent interest just in a few years.

To up the interest among the younger generations, the government has begun a campaign called “Cool Choice,” which encourages consumers to buy energy-efficient appliances.

In a new effort to capture young people’s attention, the government has begun working on ways to possibly make environmental benefits of the sharing economy. The younger generations seem less interested in owning cars, homes or bikes, environment ministry officials said. And since many campaigns here have mascots, officials are soliciting mascots that generations can relate to, to help contribute to Japans environment issues.

So far, some young people seem unchanged by the government’s efforts.


Click and drag to see air pollution in real time around the world:
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/watch-air-pollution-flow-across-planet-real-time

Resource:
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/science/japan-global-warming.html


Uprooting Air Pollution: Factors in the Philippines

In 2012, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported more than 7 million registered motor vehicles in the Philippines. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), 69% of the country's air pollution comes from vehicle emission. As the population continues to grow, there will be the inevitable increase in energy consumption leading to greater gas emissions and increased traffic congestion. Population growth also causes overcrowding in cities, becoming a factor in the Philippine's change in infrastructure, which has resulted in the construction of higher buildings. With higher buildings air pollutants are prevented from dispersing and remain at ground level causing greater ingestion by people.

Press the play button below to watch the graphic demonstrate the increase in the Philippines' cumulative CO2 emissions as population density grows over the course of 60 years between 1950-2010. Air pollution is becoming a nationwide topic as lower middle-income countries like the Philippines continue to develop. In searching for a solution to decrease air pollution, there may be deeper, underlying factors found in the problems of transportation and poverty (overcrowding).


This is the link to the Gapminder Tool used above. Users can modify the graph to other variables such as coal or oil consumption to life expectancy or child mortality rates, as well as change the country.

You can find more information on air pollution in the Philippines here:

Five Easy Ways to Cut Down Air Pollution

Photo: Getty Images

Everyone is affected by outdoor air pollution and at current levels, it has started killing us. 

Air Pollution is a mix of chemicals, particulate matter, and biological materials that react with each other and form tiny hazardous particles. It contributes to breathing problems, chronic diseases, increased hospitalization, and premature mortality.

Short term symptoms from exposure are itchy eyes, nose and throat, coughing, chest pains, headaches, and upper respiratory problems. Long term effects include lung cancer, chronic respiratory illness and developing allergies. 

Here are five easy ways we can cut down air pollution as individuals:

#1 Use your car a lot less
Take public transportation if you have the ability to do so or carpool with friends and colleagues. You can also ride your bike and be in nature for a stress free commute. This way you won't be contributing to the issues air is dealing with by adding your car to the mix.

#2 Use multi-purpose bags when you shop
Avoid plastic bags as much as possible. They are made out of oil products that can hurt the environment from production and never decomposing.

#3 Use both sides of your paper
Paper is made from tree's which help filter our air. Also the process of making paper causes air pollution from chemicals dumping into our air. Try to be multi-purpose with many things in life.

#4 Plant trees
Trees are natural air filters, and help reduce air pollutants. Trees also improve our mood and cool down the temperature by a few degrees, which makes them a great substitute for energy demanding and polluting air conditioners.

#5 Educate your companions

Let the people around you know about how they can contribute to clean air initiatives and educate them about all of the different ways that they can take care of the environment themselves.

Air Quality Alert in Thai Provinces

Greenpeace just revealed the results of an ongoing study to determine the health concerns associated with air pollution in Thailand. Fourteen Thai provinces were surveyed and were all found to have worse air quality than the World Health Organization allows. Pollutant particles as small as PM2.5 were found in large quantities. This size of pollutant particle poses a greater threat because it can easily be absorbed into the blood stream which can lead to health issues down the road. Surprisingly though, Bangkok was not the first city on the list of "worst air quality in Thailand", Bangkok scored a fourth place while the first place prize went to Khon Kaen with a grand total of 44 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Read more about what the Thai government is doing in order to combat this issue in these two articles: http://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2017/08/08/air-pollution-alert-in-14-thai-provinces.html

Serbia's clean energy commitment is a lie?

Kostolac B thermal power-plant (photo CINS)

            Recently Serbia's admission into the EU has come into questions because of their recent agreement with the Chinese state Export-Import (Exim) bank. The deal that was made states that the Chinese will give the Serbian government a loan of 608.2 million dollars in order to construct the third block of Kostolac B thermal power plant which is an extension of capacities of the Drmno opencast from which lignite coal is extracted to operate the plant. This is becoming a problem because the Serbian government has done nothing to relocate the inhabitants of the village of Drmno which is the closest village to the thermal power plant and opencast. 
            Research conducted by the Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) shows that in four out of five households in Drmno there is at least one household member suffering from some chronic or prolonged illness. This and other air quality issues have be raised and the EU is not happy about it. They made it clear that environmental protection plays an important role in Serbia joining the European Union (EU). Dragana Mileusnić from organization Climate Action Network (CAN Europe) says that unless Serbia acts in accordance with standards, it will either have to pay enormous fines or close down the thermal power plant. 
When asked about this Kostolac thermal power plant, did not accept an interview with journalists from Centre for Investigative Journalism in Serbia (CIJS). However, in a written reply, they state that EPS is committed to harmonizing plant’s operation with domestic legislation and EU Directives.
Read more at...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Economic and Environmental Benefits of Curbing Air Pollution (United Arab Emirates and Abroad)

There are both environmental and economic benefits when it comes to curbing air pollution. For instance, road traffic in Dubai is known to be one of the biggest polluters. The “sunlight acts on vapour from fuels and fumes from exhausts to produce ozone, which irritates eyes and causes asthma and bronchitis”. Cleaner engines and more developed public transport systems will help reduce these negative effects. One way to accomplish this is to increase registration fees on the more hazardous vehicles and using the revenues to offer rebates on low-emission vehicles (such as Toyota’s hybrid Prius or Tesla’s electric Model S).

Another important factor is the necessity of public transportation. Subsidizing public transportation could significantly reduce the levels of air pollution in the United Arab Emirates. The Etihad Rail network, the expansion of the Dubai Metro, the Al Sufouh Tramway, and Abu Dhabi’s Metro (due in 2016-17) are all seen as positive steps.

UAE lifts its carbon reduction target


Attention to and action toward preventing air pollution is part of a wide strategy which produces multiple benefits: smoother-flowing traffic, better infrastructure, lower greenhouse gases and greater economic resilience. Clean air “supports the UAE’s rapid growth, keeping it attractive, livable and convenient – and showing the best face of the splendid new buildings”.

The linked article below discusses more of these benefits in greater detail.  

Is HEAL enough to help Serbia's concerning air quality

Image result for serbian air pollution

            During World Asthma Day 2017 in Belgrade, Serbia's capital, The Health and Environmental Alliance (HEAL) called the Serbian government to invest effort to clean up the air in the country as part of the Unmask My City campaign. Due to Serbia's less then impressive efforts to clean up its air quality, it was no surprise then that the campaign won the support of the Serbian Health Ministry. On top of that experts at the Novi Sad university School of Medicine who are actively conducting a pilot project on exposure to suspended particles PM2.5 also pledged their support. This seems like the right step forward for Serbia because an alliance with HEAL might be exactly what they need. HEAL is a non-profit organization involved in researching the effect of the environment on the health of the population in the European Union. So far their environment adviser for the Balkans Vlatka Matkovic Puljic warned that the entire region must take actions to protect air health. She says that in Serbia alone more then 10,000 people have died of exposure to suspended particles and ozone. She suggests that the best way to start fixing Serbia's air health is to replacing coal with renewable energy sources, using railroads for freight transport and improving infrastructure. Since all of which requires political will, she hopes that Serbia's mortality rate due to pollution is at the level of 137.3 per 100.000 people which is significantly higher than the European average of 64.2 will be some incentive get the ball rolling. All this is still up in the air however since it is a new development that started only a few month ago. It is still too soon to tell if anything will change, so for now can just hope.
Read more at...


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Making the problem worse?



 


A new natural gas facility is going to be built in Clarendon, which will increase the amount of air pollution already plaguing Jamaica.  The plant will provide cheaper fuel for bauxite company Jamalco.  The citizens that live around where the plant will be built are more excited that it will provide new jobs while its under construction, as well as twenty permanent positions, than they are concerned how the plant will impact their quality of life.  Numerous politicians have admitted that they need to do something regarding the air pollution, yet they approved this construction.  I’m sure a lot of us can relate to the frustration that comes from politicians not keeping their word, especially when it comes to the environment.


To read more about the plant visit:

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/business/20170804/new-fortress-build-operate-us265m-gas-fired-power-plant-jamalco

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Japan's Pollution Diet


Japan has made significant changes when it comes to their environment. They made progress by implementing aggressive policies (14 policies passed in 1970) such as adopting clean technology. Clean technology came to the scene when Japan started shutting down many of its nuclear reactors from Fukushima disaster. Using LED lights, Japanese businesses cut office electricity by 40 percent, according to Fortune report. Komatsu is leading the way in the heavy machinery business by installing solar panels, using underground water for cooling and adopting clean manufacturing technology, which the company saved 40 percent over three years on energy costs.


What is Japan doing now?
Japan and other countries have invested in new green energy technology manufacturing industries such as those related to solar and wind, smart grids, green vehicles, and green buildings. Clean-tech companies are becoming more sophisticated and creative. A new industry has been built around finding information to improve technology to then reduce energy consumption. There is talk about clean technology taking over the tech industry by 2050, and Japan has already made their move and proven results over years and years of hard work.


Simple and easy tips to help reduce air pollution in your own home:
Resources:

https://www.asiapacific.ca/canada-asia-agenda/asias-clean-tech-transition-balancing-green-development-and

Eastern Asia and who is at fault



In this article we look at the differences in air quality in the city of Seoul, and whether or not it is actually China's fault for a large portion of their pollution. There is a comparison between other major cities around the world in which displays South Korea as a top 3 major contributor to air pollution behind Beijing and Shanghai. The next most unhealthy air would be Los Angeles which is not nearly as bad. More comparisons made in this article are with New York City in which it is significantly healthier air than Seoul based on these charts. This is an eye opening article as it displays major concern for us moving forward in fighting against air pollution.

The diagram that I have shown at the top is just a little insight on the use of cigarettes and how it effects air pollution by itself.

Reference:
http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/06/03/478796463/koreas-air-is-dirty-but-its-not-all-close-neighbor-chinas-fault

Thursday, August 3, 2017

China's Smog Affecting Japan


Japan has voiced complaints about China’s smog reporting, 39 percent of PM2.5 in the air on average in Tokyo that was from China. PM2.5 refers to fine airborne particulates with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, meant to be the most dangerous as they can enter a person’s lungs. Chinese government has invited a team of Japanese experts to visit in an effort to identify ways of reducing the problem.

Today, Japan is one of the least polluted countries in the world, according to the World Health Organization, they have made drastic changes to help protect their citizens and environment. Thanks to Japan's citizens' movements, Japan's government was forced to act on their air pollution. The country went on a Pollution Diet where Japan enforced fourteen laws at once. The new laws made polluters financially liable to pay their victims, help resolve disputes, amended and tightened existing regulations. Additionally, the new law enforced on improving on: air and water pollution, traffic and sound pollution, and toxic waste disposal.

For more information, check out the links below to read what Japan is doing to help reduce air pollution:


Three Takeaways from the Diesel Summit






Wednesday, German automakers and policymakers met at a big diesel summit in Berlin. This was a discussion on the future of diesel vehicles after a two-year scandal saga spread from Volkswagen to other companies. It’s clear that diesel car makers are not ready for a revolution.

1. Breakthroughs didn’t happen.

The group did not decide to recall the NOx spewing cars and commit to not using defeat devices. They did however agree to update the software of 5 million diesel cars. Included are 2.5 million recalled Volkswagen cars and for the rest of the year diesel cars will be allowed to emit poisonous NOx. The environmental pressure group known as DUH pointed out that automakers will still be allowed to switch off their exhaust treatment at outside temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, calling it “an especially egregious scandal.”

2. Automakers are looking past their older more polluting cars.

Courts are deciding that diesel bans for the dirtiest diesel vehicles are the only way to bring down air pollution as soon as possible. These account for older vehicles which are unaffected. Only diesel cars complying with Euro 6 will be called to shops. Automakers promise that their software changes will lower the NOx output of the recalled cars by 25% to 30%, “but many experts doubt that,” BILD reported. As only a fraction of Germany diesel cars will be called to the shops, the net effect will be more like a 2% to 3% reduction of NOx emissions, DUH said.

3. The tide has turned on diesel.

Europe public sentiment has changed drastically. People are no longer willing to accept bogus reassurances from the car industry that cleaner cars are coming. Half of Germany drives diesel cars, but looming are diesel bans in 16 cities. A study cited from Reuters said that 57% of Germans support the bans; half of car owners are very much against them. Then there is the worry that people might switch to gasoline cars, which they have already been doing in increasing numbers.