A time-bomb ticking

Published: Monday 31 January 2000

-- Air pollution continues to violate health guidelines in many cities of the world. Sulphur dioxide and particulate matter are the most commonly recorded pollutants. Independently or in combination, these pollutants cause lung damage and aggravate existing respiratory problems. The air in rural areas is also getting polluted due to excessive use of biomass energy like fuelwood, agricultural residues, animal waste and charcoal. Ninety per cent of this energy is used by developing countries. Cooking with biomass also releases suspended particulate matter, carbon monoxide and methane besides organic compounds. Extended exposure to these pollutants can lead to respiratory infections, lung cancer and blindness and threaten pregnancies.

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