Dr Steve North – Using technology to improve understanding of animal behaviour and communication

Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales

To meet the mobility demands of the future without increasing congestion and pollution calls for some major changes.

Source: Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales | World Economic Forum

Indian state wins coveted UN award

 

God's own country
God’s own country

Known as God’s own country, Indian state Kerala, for the first time, has won the prestigious Ulysses Prize from United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for its tourism project at Kumarakom and for bringing in excellence and innovation in the sector.
The prizes were announced in Madrid, Spain and Kerala’s Kumarakom project won the prize in the category “Innovation in Public Policy and Governance”. The prizes were conceived to honour innovation, policy making and information dissemination the field of global tourism.
The Kerala government official attributed the success to locals, communities, self help groups and business in the tourism sector who coordinated and cooperated well to make the project a success.
Under Kumarakom project, the locals, including vendors, farmers and small business were supplying their farm produce to the thirteen hotels and resorts in the area for their daily use.
Speaking at the function, UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said, “Tourism is increasingly becoming a transformative force, bringing in economic growth, creating jobs, and most importantly, changing people’s lives.”
“We are humbled by the UNWTO’s decision to confer this highest international award on our state,” said Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar.
It must also be noted that tourism management has also become a specialised field for tourist spots, and there have been demands in India to stress on the need of having a system where the numbers of tourists coming in the country are managed considering the effects of climate change on the ecology and flora & fauna of India. It must be hoped with this award India lays greater emphasis on responsible and innovative tourism in the country.
Abhishek Bhardwaj

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Air pollution a leading cause of cancer – U.N. agency

Air pollution a leading cause of cancer – U.N. agency

The air we breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and is being officially classified as carcinogenic to humans, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency said on Thursday.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution, and said there was also convincing evidence it increases the risk of bladder cancer.

Depending on the level of exposure in different parts of the world, the risk was found to be similar to that of breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke, Kurt Straif, head of the agency’s section that ranks carcinogens, told reporters in Geneva.

“Our task was to evaluate the air everyone breathes rather than focus on specific air pollutants,” deputy head Dana Loomis said in a statement. “The results from the reviewed studies point in the same direction: the risk of developing lung cancer is significantly increased in people exposed to air pollution.”

Air pollution, mostly caused by transport, power generation, industrial or agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking, is already known to raise risks for a wide range of illnesses including respiratory and heart diseases.

Research suggests that exposure levels have risen significantly in some parts of the world, particularly countries with large populations going through rapid industrialization, such as China.

IARC reviewed thousands of studies on air pollution tracking populations over decades and other research such as those in which mice exposed to polluted air experienced increased numbers of lung tumors.

In a statement released after reviewing the literature, the Lyon-based agency said both air pollution and “particulate matter” – a major component of it – would now be classified among its Group 1 human carcinogens.

That ranks them alongside more than 100 other known cancer-causing substances in IARC’s Group 1, including asbestos, plutonium, silica dust, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke.

CARCINOGEN ENCYCLOPAEDIA

Air pollution is highly variable over space and time.

Loomis said there was relatively high exposure in Asia, South Asia, eastern North America, some places in Central America and Mexico, as well as North Africa.

But although both the composition and levels of air pollution can vary dramatically from one location to the next, IARC said its conclusions applied to all regions of the world.

“Our conclusion is that this is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths,” Dr. Christopher Wild, director of IARC, told the news briefing in Geneva.

IARC’s ranking monographs program, sometimes known as the “encyclopedia of carcinogens”, aims to be an authoritative source of scientific evidence on cancer-causing substances.

It has already classified many chemicals and mixtures that can be components of air pollution, including diesel engine exhaust, solvents, metals and dusts. But this is the first time that experts have classified air pollution as a cause of cancer.

Wild said he hoped the comprehensive evidence would help the WHO, which is revising its global 2005 guidelines on air quality. The U.N. agency makes on recommendations on public health issues to its 193 member states.

Asked why it had taken so long to reach the conclusion, he said that one problem was the time lag between exposure to polluted air and the onset of cancer.

“Often we’re looking at two, three or four decades once an exposure is introduced before there is sufficient impact on the burden of cancer in the population to be able to study this type of question,” he said.

 

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NHS stop-smoking service a success

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