Air Quality Situations in Latin America and the Caribbean


Research Paper (postgraduate), 2019
32 Pages, Grade: 9.0

Free online reading

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
Latin America and the Caribbean
Climatic Condition
Types of Air Pollutants present in LAC
Sources of air pollutants in LAC

METHODOLOGY

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Air Quality Standard in LAC
Air quality Data in LAC
Impact of Air Quality on Human Health

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

ABSTRACT

Air quality in countries and cities within Latin America and the Caribbean has deteriorated due to the rapid increase of the urban population, use of vehicles, poor waste management, extended burning of biomass-based fuels, large-scale combustion including power plants and industrial boilers which are strongly associated with fine particle emissions. In this thesis, data was gathered from online official sites of national and international legal sources such as the WHO Global Health Observatory, UNEP, ECLAC as well as the United Nations. We have used two major air pollutants namely PM10 and PM2.5 those are linked to serious health problems such as irritated eyes, nose and throat worsening asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart attacks, and arrhythmias along with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and ultimately reduction in life expectancy. According to previous reports the maximum PM10 value was recorded in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (136 µg/m3). Besides that, La Paz (Bolivia), Nuevo Leon, Jalisco & Toluca (Mexico), Lima (Peru) these cities contain comparatively high PM10 in their air. The minimum PM10 was recorded in Salvador, Brazil (17 µg/m3). Whereas the highest PM2.5 was recorded in Chillan, Chile (53 µg/m3) and the lowest PM2.5 was recorded in Punta Arenas, Chile (5µg/m3). PM10 and PM2.5 of most of the LAC countries and cities were higher than WHO air quality standards. The level of knowledge of air pollution’s impact on health is very much limited in most of the LAC region. For improving health and quality of life, the direct and indirect health effects of air pollutants should be increased among both decision makers and the general population. A strong air quality management system is necessary to establish in LAC to implement the WHO Air Quality Standards.

Key words: Air quality, Latin America, Carribean, PM10, PM2.5

INTRODUCTION

Air pollution is the release of several pollutants into the air which is directly or indirectly harmful to the living beings (Mackenzie 2016). Around 91% of the total world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO air quality guideline (WHO 2018). Air pollution has turned into a major global concern in numerous urban communities around the world as a result of developing industrialization and expanding urbanization. It harms crops, creatures, forests, and waterways. It also adds to the exhaustion of the ozone layer, which protects the earth from the sun's UV light.

Air is mainly composed of nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other gases (Karim et al. 2000; Hackstadt et al. 2014). Air pollution is caused by different types of pollutants present in the air and due to unfavorable weather conditions (Papanastasioua et al. 2015). These pollutants are including various short-lived climate pollutants, particulate matter, etc. Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) remain in the atmosphere for a short time which has a warming effect on climate. The major SLCPs consist of black carbon (BC), tropospheric ozone (O3) and methane (CH4). The largest source of SCLPs in Latin America is Mexico City(Mexico) (UNEP 2015). Furthermore, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are responsible for air pollution. It is widely used in refrigeration and insulating foam (Molina et al. 2009). BC is another pollutant that absorbs sunlight and also melts ice and snow which cause global warming (Anenberg et al. 2012). 12% of the world’s total BC emissions are originated from LAC. Black carbon remains in the atmosphere for a relatively short time for only days or weeks compared to other greenhouse gases, such as CO2. Accordingly, reducing black carbon emissions allows benefits almost immediately.

Particulate matter is defined as a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air (Zhang et al. 2015). Two classes of PM are considered by the EPA to be most deleterious to human health: PM10, which includes particles equal to or smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter and PM2.5, which includes particles equal to or smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. They exist either as solid or liquid droplet aerosols.PM can be in the form of dust or can be derived through incomplete combustion reactions from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Natural sources for PM include volcanoes and forest fires; however, the amount of PM of anthropogenic sources is increasing. Anthropogenic sources include coal-fired power plants, internal combustion engines and other industrial processes, particularly those that use fossil fuels (Harrison, 2010).

The air pollution in Latin America and the Caribbean countries and cities is quite high. As the majority percentage of the area of LAC region are covered by industrialized zone, consequently, urban communities of LAC are creating a huge amount of pollutants that are causing air pollution (Thongplang 2015).

Air pollution is considered by the extreme environmental risk to human health (WHO 2019). Microscopic pollutants in the air can break our body defenses. It can also penetrate deep into our respiratory and circulatory system, damaging our brain, heart and lungs (WHO, 2018). Adverse health effects can be caused by BC, such as asthma and other respiratory problems, low birth weights, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancer (Kulkarni et al. 2006). In urban areas, each year 3.7 million people die exposed to contaminated air. Approximately 80% of these deaths are caused by ischemic heart diseases and strokes; 14% to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute lower respiratory infections; and 6% to lung cancer. Particulate matter is most health related air pollutant in LAC countries than any other pollutants (WHO 2016).

In LAC, the monitoring system for air quality is very poor. But now most of the LAC countries are trying to improve their environmental standards to build up a strong air quality management system and to upgrade their related institutions. Construction, cement factories, mines and quarries, agricultural, petrochemicals are the principal industries to monitor particulate matters (Thongplang 2015).

This thesis work aims to investigate the air quality situation in Latin America and the Caribbean by making a review of the present status of air quality. This outline contains an evaluation of the current status of air quality observing countries and cities of LAC and the present levels of the most critical pollutants contrasted with the WHO Air Quality Standards. This review will also focus on the health effects of human causing by air pollution and development strategies to reduce air pollution in LAC.

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

Latin America and the Caribbean

LAC covers a region that stretches from the Northern Centre of Mexico toward the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean. Latin America is comprised of 21 countries in the American continent. These countries are all located in the south of the USA-Mexico border which starts with Mexico extending through Central America and parts of the Caribbean. LAC is surrounded by the North America continent at the north side, the Antartic continent at the south side, the Atlantic Ocean at the east side and the Pacific Ocean on the west side. (figure 2.1)

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Figure 2.1 Map of Latin America and the Carribean

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/534098837028326317/

The total land area of Latin America is 20,139,378 km[2] (UN 2019) which is double than that of Europe, but smaller than of North America, Asia or Africa. Latin America includes all of the continental countries of the Americas from Mexico to Chile and Argentina, as well as adjacent seas (Canziani et al. 1998).

The current population of Latin America and the Caribbean is 654,465,247 million. But, the population of Latin Americans will increase to 838 million in 2050. Latin America and the Caribbean population is equivalent to 8.55% of the total world population. The population density in Latin America and the Caribbean is 32 per km[2]. Yearly population development rates will diminish from 1.68%, in the period 1995- 2000, to an expected 0.51% in the period 2040-2050, as per the medium prospect of the United Nations (Basso et al 2001; UN 2018).

Climatic Condition

Latin America contains an extensive assortment of atmospheres because of its geographical location. The climatic condition ranges from cool, frigid high rises, with a portion of a couple of ice sheets still found in the tropics to calm and tropical atmosphere. The atmosphere of Latin America ranges from the hot and damp Amazon River bowl to the dry and desert-like states of northern Mexico and southern Chile. Rain forests, deserts, and savanna all are found in this area. Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tectonic movements are very common all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Glaciers have ceased dramatically in the past decades and many of them have lost completely (Williams et al. 1998).

The atmosphere of Latin America is heterogeneous with biological communities and increased human population density. Northeast trade winds originating from the Atlantic Ocean bring heavy seasonal rains in Guyana, Suriname, Northern-east part of Brazil and Venezuela. Therefore, the climate of these countries is tropical humid (tropical wet and tropical wet/dry). Southeast trade winds bring rain in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre(Brazil) and Montevideo(Uruguay). The climate of these areas is temperate (moist all year, winter dry, summer dry). Seasonal winds bring rain in Ecuador and Colombia. Deserts and steppes are present in mainly Argentina and Chile. The arid and semiarid climate is present there. Patagonia is located in this region which is comprised of Andes mountains and deserts. Rains come from the west of the Andes in this areas. The Atacama is also a renowned desert situated in Chile. The Andes block winds off the Atlantic from this desert. Winds also run from west to east through the Tierra del Fuego which is situated in the lower part of Latin America. Ocean currents (Peru current) brings cold surface water and here the air is very dry. In Peru, El Nino brings warm water instead of cold every few years. The coldest climate is observed in high altitude regions like La Paz (Bolivia). (figure 2.2)

The geographies of South America’s climate are controlled by three key factors. The first and most important is the subtropical high-pressure air masses over the South Pacific and South Atlantic oceans. Large scale patterns of wind circulation and the location of the rain-bearing intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) are caused by this subtropical high pressure. The second, presence of cold ocean currents along the continent’s western side. It affects both air temperatures and precipitation laterally the Pacific coast, on the Atlantic coast. Finally, the orographic barrier of the Andes which makes a huge rain shadow over much of the southern tier of the LAC (Carretier et al. 2018).

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Figure 2.2: Climatic map of LAC

Source: Prepared by Brett Lucas data from the World regional geography, 2013.

Types of Air Pollutants present in LAC

There are several types of pollutants present in the air of Latin America and the Caribbean. The most common pollutants are known as criteria pollutants. Some pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3) are very much responsible for air pollution. These air pollutants can cause several health problems. Even though all of them are recognized to create health problems, the pollutant of higher concern in LAC is particulate matter. It is also an indicator of many other oxidants present in the air. The composition of PM is very complex. It also varies according to place, time and source. The main fraction of PM2.5 is composed of BC, from 31-57(%) in city areas (Russell et al. 2004; Upadhyay et al. 2004; Martinez et al. 2012). Some particulate matters are released directly into the atmosphere, for instance, black carbon from combustion or brake dust from vehicles.

The air pollutants formed in the atmosphere can be represented as the following chemical reactions:

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Three different-sized modes of BC mass in particles are found; among them, 200-300 nm was associated with urban burning activities (Takahama et al. 2014). Ozone is one of the main producers of photochemical smog. It is constituted by the reaction with the sunlight of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the vehicle and industry emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by vehicles, solvents, and industry. During sunny weather, the highest levels of pollution of ozone are occurred (UNEP 2014).

Sources of air pollutants in LAC

So far the sources of air pollutants are concerned, various megacities in LAC such as Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, correspondingly with a population of more than 10 million (Cifuentes et al. 2005), are located in the urban and economic growth areas has caused an elevation in air pollution (particularly CO, NOx, SO2, tropospheric ozone (O3), hydrocarbons and particulates) and associated human health impacts (UNEP 2000).

According to several reports, transport is a primary source of direct and indirect air pollution, particularly in bigger urban areas, yet additionally progressively in medium measured urban communities. More than 40% emission of PM10 in Mexico City and 86% emission of PM10 in Santiago originate from the vehicle activity (O'Ryan et al. 2000). In certain particular regions the air pollution issue isn't identified with vehicles, yet rather to private utilization of fuelwood for cooking as well as warming as in Temuco and other fair-sized urban areas in the south of Chile and some Central American nations; forests for example, in Central America, or even a spring of gushing lava ejections as in Quito, Ecuador in 1999 (UNEP 2003). Emissions from vehicles and suspended particles from various residues, both clear and unpaved streets are causing air pollution. Fuel quality especially sulfur content in gas and diesel fuel is a key factor that decides the measure of SO2 outflows, which add to PM10 when changed to sulfates. In this case, the sulfur substance in diesel fuel in Brazilian urban communities is about 1000 ppm, while in Mexico City these are near about 500 ppm and Santiago(Chile) these have been decreased from 500-300 ppm in 2001 and to 50 ppm in mid-2004. US and Canada presently restrain the sulfur substance to 500 ppm, while most European nations require 50 ppm, yet a few (Denmark, Sweden) constrain it to 15 ppm (Zavala 2013).

Industrial processes including smelters, refineries and brick kilns

In various industrial processes, combustible materials are widely used. This source of emission is not easy to record with reliable examinations. Because, many activities such as brick production and smelting utilize a variety of materials including tires, discarded construction materials or waste oil. The emission of CO, CH4, NOx, and NMVOCs from these processes are not well identified. In Mexico, almost all BC emissions are originated from the industrial processes which are connected to the combustion in sugar mills.

Large scale combustion including power plants and industrial boilers

Large scale combustion mostly refers to oil and coal-fired electrical power plants. But nowadays many large industries mix their power sources, which can burn a variety of fuels including natural gas, diesel or petroleum. Every single country reveals the type of fuel used to produce energy is released by the differences in the relative degree of pollutants. As most of the energy in Brazil and Paraguay is hydroelectric, for example, they are less dependent on the oil and coal-fueled power plants on which other Latin American and Caribbean countries depend. Mexico's power generation is largely depended on fossil fuels compared to Canada and the USA (CEC 2011).

Residential-commercial combustion: cooking and heating

Many developing countries are using biomass to fulfill their domestic energy needs such as cooking and heating. In LAC, three stones or U-shaped enclosures are built by the users made of mud or clay which typically perform cooking by open fires (Berrueta et al., 2008). The versatility of open fire is much appreciated but it pollutes highly and often fuel is inefficient. But its additional benefits are it can be made easily, anywhere, anytime, by anyone, the cost is very much low; uses fuel of nearly any kind, and requires no long-term maintenance (Troncoso et al. 2007).

Transport

Numerous transportation vehicles like cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and ships are causing air pollution. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 60 percent of the CO and more than 50 percent of the total NOx is originated in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. In the case of Mexico, Mexico City which is one of the largest megacities in the world has strict regulations and vehicle inspection measures designed to reduce important air pollutants. In spite of that, the main source of urban air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions across this region are transportation. (Zbigniew Klimont et al. 2018)

Fossil fuel extraction and distribution

The extraction of oil and natural gas cause most emissions mainly in Colombia. But, the extraction of coal is an insignificant emission source in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Bolivia, Brazil as well as Chile, the oil and gas industry is not developed vastly. Merely, Venezuela is participating significantly in this industry. Although a major producer of petroleum is Mexico, it does not produce any emissions from this industry (Heede et al. 2016).

Wastelands

In LAC, pollution from wastelands is also considered a relatively minor source of pollutants. In Brazil, only a tenth of the amount of CH4 emitted by agriculture comes from this source; in Peru, however, the waste sector is believed to responsible for at least a third of the country’s CH4 emissions. Other countries do not report this source in their national inventories; it is likely that it could be much more preferable than currently estimated, particularly in large urban areas where garbage, sewage, and other waste products are not properly disposed of (Stodolska et al. 2011).

Agriculture

Nitrogen-containing compounds (NO2, NO, NH3, N2O) are emitted to the atmosphere from agricultural activities. In the case of ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O), agricultural sources are the main contributors Responsive N compounds play a key role in air pollution and a time it has manifold effects on the environment. The well-known interventions of environmental N affect to their release to the atmosphere (Winiwarter et al., 2011). Additionally, the agriculture sector is a major contributor of pollutants like methane which produces nearly 70 percent of the total emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Nitrous oxide emissions from soils which originate from leaching and runoff, direct emissions and animal manure, increased by about 29 percent between 2000 and 2010. The amount of beef and dairy cattle in the region is high. That causes methane emissions, which grew by 19 percent between 2000 and 2010 (Zbigniew Klimont et al. 2018).

Open burning of biomass including crop residues

A very familiar process in deforestation is the use of fire. This is mainly practiced in the tropics. At this time, atmospheric trace gases and aerosols are majorly contributed by these fires. Pollution originating from biomass burning in Latin America can be six to seven times larger than from other anthropogenic sources (Bond et al. 2004).

METHODOLOGY

To study the air quality of LAC, mainly the amount of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) were used from different countries and cities. Data available on air quality policies and regulations for PM10 and PM2.5 in 14 different countries of LAC were considered for the most recent years.

The review of literature were accumulated online from authorized national and international societies and relevant permissible sources such as the Web sites or relevant publications of World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations, World Bank as well as the Clean Air Institute (CAI) were also used. Data were furthermore collected from official government sources through internet searches as well as appropriate local officials. (ECLAC 2014).

The compiled informations were concised in related tables on air quality standards, characteristics of monitoring networks, in addition, historical data concerning air pollutant. Every single table was presented and conferred in the appropriate section. Air quality map was used to monitor the existing situations and subsequently air quality data were generated spatially.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Air Quality Standard in LAC

According to WHO Air Quality Guidelines 2005, the standard PM10 value was 20 µg/m[3] and the standard PM2.5 value was 10 µg/m[3]. From 2010 to 2014, the annual mean PM10 and PM2.5 value of 17 LAC countries were listed in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1. Maximum concentration levels of the main components of air pollution— particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) allowed in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean compared to World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines (WHO-AQG)

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Sources: www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=1025202

Air quality Data in LAC

Fourteen countries and some cities in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean had different amounts of PM10 and PM2.5 in their air. In most of the cases, PM10 and PM2.5 measured in 2010-14 in the air of these 14 countries and cities under those countries were more than the PM10 and PM2.5 limit according to WHO Air Quality Guidelines 2005.

Figure 4.1 showed that, In 2010-14, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico had the highest value of PM10 around 136 µg/m[3] which is 87% higher than the WHO standards. This city was a highly industrialized city and the number of population of Ciudad Juarez was also very high. Some other cities of Mexico such as Nuevo Leon, Jalisco, Toluca consisted of PM10 88, 87 and 82 µg/m[3], those are 80, 79 and 78% higher, respectively in terms of PM10 standard according to WHO Air Quality Guidelines. The second highest amount of PM10 in Latin America and the Caribbean was presented in the air of Lima(Peru) which was 94 µg/m[3] which is 81% higher than the WHO standard. La Paz had also high PM10 value of 82 µg/m[3]. Buenos Aires in Argentina had 26 µg/m[3] PM10, Salvador in Brazil had 17 µg/m[3] PM10 in their air. Among all these cities, the cleanest air was presented in Salvador because it had the lowest amount of PM10 in its air. The air of Curitiba in Brazil also contained 24 µg/m[3] PM10. The air of Campinas, Jundiai, San Jose, Montevideo, Callao, Vina del Mar had PM10 respectively 35,30,27,26,34 and 34 µg/m[3] in their air which were very close to the PM10 standards according to WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

According to figure 4.3, in 2010-14, Chillan in Chile had the highest PM2.5 value of 53 µg/m3 which is 82% higher than the WHO standard (10 µg/m3). This city was not so highly industrialized like Mexico City and other industrially developed LAC cities but PM2.5 content of Chillan was very high than other LAC cities. The air of San Salvador (El Salvador), Guatemala (Guatemala), Toluca (Mexico), Lima (Peru) also had PM2.5 42, 41, 39 and 38 µg/m3, respectively which were above the PM2.5 standards according to WHO Air Quality Guidelines. In case of PM2.5, the WHO standard was only 10 µg/m3 around the whole world including LAC according to the WHO Air Quality Guidelines 2005. Among LAC cities, Punta Arenas(Chile), Montevideo(Uruguay), Cuenca(Ecuador), Pasto(Colombia) had the lowest amount of PM2.5 in their air respectively 15, 5, 9 and 9 µg/m3 but their amount was also above the PM2.5 standards according to WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

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Figure 4.1: Level of Yearly PM10 (µg/m[3]) Values in Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean (2010-14) Compared with the WHO Air Quality Guidelines, 2005.

Source: Collected from Rodríguez et al, (2016)

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Figure 4.2: Level of Yearly PM2.5 (µg/m[3]) Values in Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean (2010-14) Compared with the WHO Air Quality Guidelines, 2005.

Source: Collected from Rodríguez et al, (2016)

Impact of Air Quality on Human Health

The world is getting hot and more crowded day by day. Our engines are also continuing to pump out dirty emissions and half of the world has no access to clean fuels or technologies (e.g. stoves, lamps). That’s why the air we breathe is becoming very much polluted. Furthermore, nine out of ten people now breathe polluted air. Thus the people are suffering from various respiratory and heart diseases. Deaths rate due to pollutants present in the air is also increasing (WHO 2018).

Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the most urbanized regions of the world. So, its population is helpless against the impact of air pollution. In LAC, a large number of deaths occurs due to air pollution every year. This is very much alarming for ensuring a good healthy life in this region (Nowak et al. 2014).

In this region, major health problems caused by air pollution are acute respiratory disease, chronic disruptive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, etc (Kim et al., 2015). In 14 LAC countries, the number of deaths caused by several diseases linked to air pollution was listed in table 4.2.

From table 4.2 it was analyzed that in 2012, among 14 LAC countries the highest number of people died in Brazil and the least number of people died in Costa Rica due to diseases caused by air pollution. In the other hand, the highest number of deaths occurred in Honduras and the least number of deaths occurred in Costa Rica caused by acute respiratory diseases. Due to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the maximum number of deaths occurred in Mexico and a minimum number of deaths occurred in Jamaica (Gurjar et al., 2010). Stroke and lung cancer also caused a large number of deaths in LAC. In the case of both stroke and lung cancer, the highest number of deaths occurred in Brazil and the lowest number of deaths occurred in Costa Rica.

Table 4.2. Number of deaths attributable to ambient air pollution in 2012 in both sexes, by disease and LAC country

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ALRI: Acute lower respiratory disease; COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; IHD: Ischemic heart disease

Source: World Health Organization (2014).

Number of deaths by acute lower respiratory disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

In Latin America and the Caribbean countries, respiratory diseases are very common diseases linked to air pollution. As per figure 4.3.1, in 2012 death rate by acute lower respiratory disease increased largely in 14 LAC countries. In Honduras, yearly mean PM10 & PM2.5 were comparatively higher than other LAC countries and death rate by acute lower respiratory disease was also very high. Similarly, the number of death by acute lower respiratory disease was high in Mexico (467people) due to the presence of excess amount of PM10 and PM2.5 in its air. But in Costa Rica death rate by acute lower respiratory disease was comparatively lower than other LAC countries because of its lower yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5.

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Figure 4.3.1: Number of deaths by acute lower respiratory disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries (million) against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas.

Number of deaths by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

Likewise, figure 4.3.2 stated that in 2012 deaths by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were comparatively higher in Mexico than other LAC countries because of higher yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5. In Brazil, the number of death by this disease was also high and alarming due to the presence of the high amount of particulate matter in its air. However in Costa Rica and Paraguay where yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5 were lower than other LAC countries, so death rate by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was also lower in these countries.

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Figure 4.3.2: Number of deaths by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries (million) against PM10 respective areas.

Number of deaths by lung cancer due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

Lung cancer is a very common disease in LAC countries and cities. Every year a large number of people dies by lung cancer in this region. Air pollutants like particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) is very much responsible for lung cancer and deaths due to this disease in this region.

According to figure 4.3.3, in 2012 the death rate by Lung Cancer was higher in Brazil because of it’s higher yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5 than other LAC countries and the death rate by Lung Cancer was comparatively lower in Costa Rica because of its lower yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5. In Ecuador and Paraguay where yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5 were moderate, the death rate by Lung Cancer was also moderate there.

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Figure 4.3.3: Number of deaths by lung cancer due to air pollutants in LAC Countries (million) against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas.

Number of deaths by ischemic heart disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

Figure 4.3.4 showed that, in 2012 death rate by ischemic heart disease in Honduras and Mexico was very high than other LAC countries. But in Costa Rica death rate by ischemic heart disease was comparatively lower than other LAC countries because of its lower yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5. So, it’s clear that the death rate by ischemic heart disease was increased following the yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5.

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Figure 4.3.4: Number of deaths by ischemic heart disease due to air pollutants in LAC countries (million) against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas.

Number of deaths by stroke due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

Figure 4.3.5 analyzed mainly the number of deaths by stroke linked to particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5) in LAC countries. In most of the cases, stroke is caused by the action of polluted air. Every year many people are affected by stroke and premature deaths are occurring all over the world. The death rate caused by stroke as per World Health Organization in 2012 was comparatively high in Brazil and Honduras, because of higher yearly mean PM10 & PM2.5 than other LAC countries and death rate by stroke in Costa Rica was comparatively lower than other LAC countries because of its lower yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5. The death rate by stroke was moderate in Peru and Colombia because of their moderate yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5.

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Figure 4.3.5: Number of deaths by stroke due to air pollutants in LAC countries (million) against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas.

Number of total deaths by different diseases due to air pollutants in LAC countries against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas

In 2012 total death rate by different diseases linked to air pollutants such as acute lower respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke increased largely in LAC countries. Figure 4.3.6 showed that in Brazil and Honduras, yearly mean PM10 & PM2.5 were comparatively higher than other LAC countries and death rate due to air pollution was also very high. But in Costa Rica death rate due to air pollution was comparatively lower than other LAC countries because of its lower yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5. Therefore, it’s easy to establish a relation between the death rate by different airborne diseases and the yearly mean PM10 and PM2.5 in different LAC countries.

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Figure 4.3.6: Number of total deaths by different diseases due to air pollutants in LAC countries (million) against PM10 and PM2.5 of respective areas.

Adaption strategies to improve air quality situation

Around 100 million people in LAC live in areas predisposed to air pollution. Generally, these areas are highly populated. In 2012, a total of 138,000 deaths in the Americas were attributed to ambient air pollution and household air pollution. Delegates, scholars, and non-administrative association of LAC are arranging different workshops and conferences to improve the air quality and environmental change issues that adversely affect air quality and the atmosphere. A regional expert Workshop on Air Quality was organized from 21 to 23 March 2018. In that workshop, 12 nations participated to make national strategies to address and reduce pollutants.

Following topics were the main agenda:

Current regional status of SLCPs: emissions, impacts, projections, policies and potential mitigation measures.

-Regional efforts on Air Quality Monitoring
-National strategies for improved air quality
-Key sectorial policies to control SLCPs: Transport and Household SLCPs within the fulfillment of the Agenda 2030 (UNEP 2018)

In 2018, WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health was held at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, participants of the conference considered the scientific evidence on air pollution and health and drew special attention to an immediate requirement should have taken to increase the global response to prevent diseases and deaths. This would help to achieve the goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development related to Sustainable Development Goals 3. It is very important to reduce exposure to air pollution for protecting the health of children. More than half of all pneumonia deaths in children under five years of age are caused by air pollution. Besides, this early life exposure is connected with a maximized risk for many chronic diseases. Older people and individuals are affected with pre-existing cardiorespiratory conditions and diabetes are at notable risk. Eventually, the person exposed to increased levels of air pollution are at high risk and need to be protected by satisfactory measures. The need for a world free of air pollution was identified by participants at the conference. Additionally, an aspirational goal of decreasing the number of deaths from air pollution by two thirds by 2030 was highlighted. Every year significant global health care costs will be saved by reaching this goal (WHO 2018).

LAC nations have implemented the Regional Plan of Action on Atmospheric Pollution. The plan, which is the first of its kind in the world, recognizes the importance of the issue of air quality and encourages governments to identify the economic resources needed for the sustainability of the air quality monitoring networks. To reach the aspirational goal of decreasing the number of deaths from air pollution by two thirds by 2030, the following elements for a Geneva Action Agenda to reduce air pollution were put forward.

The following efforts and actions could reduce the pollutants in the countries of LAC:

-Implement more solutions to burn less in any form. This comprises open burning and fuel burning in transport, cooking, heating, and other processes. Implement cleaner and more efficient energy and transport solutions. Redesign of LAC cities around less fossil-fuel burning and less polluting human mobility. Enhance walking and cycling. Develop circular economies based on maximizing the value of, and recovering and regenerating products and materials as much as possible.
-Compelling powerful steps to protect the most vulnerable populations, especially children in LAC countries and cities. Targeted steps and initiatives are required to recognize and upgrade the implementation of interventions to provide clean air, prevent air pollution illnesses in childhood. These steps need to be taken as early as possible in the home, streets, parks, clinics, and schools.
-Extending access to clean energy and technologies in LAC countries and cities with populations in greatest need. Particular actions are needed to parallel reduce of high exposures to smoke in households, provide energy access in health care facilities, decrease ambient air pollution, obtain climate and health co-benefits, and participate in lifting people out of poverty. Some new initiatives to reduce air pollutants are undergoing. This will enhance progress towards the achievement of SDGs 3 and 7.
-National urban policies and local capacity for adopting policies and investments that clean the air should be taken. Some initiatives such as the "Urban Health Initiative" and "Cities for clean air, good health, and better climate" are effective for this need.
-For improving health and quality of life air quality education should be increased. Children, doctors, patients, and the general population are the target audiences. Education on air pollution in schools can build awareness of risks and solutions in the new generation. The priority should raise awareness of the problem for all. Increasing health coverage, health systems, and health workforce capacity to involve and perform steps that reduce diseases caused by air pollution, comprising at the primary health care level. Joint action among the financial, health and environmental sectors should be established.
-Occupational safety and health controls and measures must be executed to protect the person from occupational exposure to air pollution outdoors and indoors. Rising involvement to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through action to reduce air pollution. Track progress in the prevention of NCDs linked to a reduction in indoor and outdoor air pollution. 25 cost-effective clean air measures should be identified and implemented.
-Continue the joint effort for harmonizing air pollution monitoring. This to be done. Establish and strengthen ground-level air quality monitoring in Latin America and the Caribbean close to sensitive groups (hospitals, schools, workplaces).
-Implement a mechanism to take stock of actions and progress, and review governance for the prevention of air pollution and related health impacts, and for obtaining additional benefits, including voluntary commitments put forward at the conference.
-Gender equity must be improved by utilizing clean fuels and technologies in homes. In most of the LAC countries, women are normally exposed to high levels of smoke when cooking with unclean fuels, and often they are collecting fuel. So, educational deprivation and lack of income generation are observed among them. If improving access to clean fuels is ensured, it will greatly enhance gender equity.
-Complete knowledge should be distributed more accurately to identify the health problems caused by air pollution.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

In recent times, air pollution has become a key issue in some countries of Latin America and the Caribbean because of urban development and growing industrialization. In accumulation to industrial processes often intensive in the cities, vehicle emission and fuel combustion are the principal sources of air pollution in LAC. Even though air-quality standards have been established in some Latin American countries but these are frequently exceeded. This review has provided the amount of two important pollutants PM10 and PM2.5 of different cities and countries in LAC. This has also provided an impact on human health due to poor air quality. The annual mean values of PM10 and PM2.5 in most measured countries and cities in LAC were significantly higher than the WHO-AQG-2014. Air pollution is responsible for huge costs by causing ill health and premature deaths in LAC. People are being affected by respiratory diseases, pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, etc.

As emissions of pollutants in LAC are high, yet there is a chance to scale up activities and accomplish enduring advantages for general wellbeing, atmosphere, and earth. More knowledge of pollution sources, atmospheric hazards & their impacts and effectiveness of remedial measures are needed. For improving health and quality of life, air quality education should be increased among all types of people. Another important priority is to increase awareness of the direct and indirect health effects of air pollutants among both decision makers and the general population. Establishment of a strong air Quality management system is very necessary for LAC to implement the WHO air quality guidelines. More investment should be made to improve the existing air monitory networks. It is very much necessary to increase the response to prevent diseases and deaths in LAC. Furthermore, access to clean energy and technologies in areas should be extended.

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Title
Air Quality Situations in Latin America and the Caribbean
Grade
9.0
Author
Year
2019
Pages
32
Catalog Number
V505909
Language
English
Tags
quality, situations, latin, america, caribbean
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Zakir Islam (Author), 2019, Air Quality Situations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/505909

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