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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Responding to the risk posed to health and environment by short-lived climate pollutants

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication24-Jun-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Third Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2350-0298.184672

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the risk posed to health and environment by short-lived climate pollutants. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2016;3:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the risk posed to health and environment by short-lived climate pollutants. Int J Adv Med Health Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Oct 25];3:1-2. Available from: https://www.ijamhrjournal.org/text.asp?2016/3/1/1/184672

Short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), which are present in both outdoor and indoor air pollution, play a significant role in the global warming, deterioration of the climate, and premature deaths of more than 7 million people attributed to air pollution.[1] These are called short-lived, as any measure to decrease its emission will not only improve the air quality but even reduce the pace of climate change.[2]

Overall, three major SLCPs, namely black carbon, methane, and ozone, has been recognized and are produced through different mechanisms.[1],[2],[3] SLCPs emission tends to cast a major impact on health (viz. heart disease, pulmonary disease, respiratory infections, and lung cancer), food security by reducing agriculture production, and even contribute to premature deaths, by increasing the air pollution, global warming, and the frequency of catastrophic climate disasters.[1],[2],[3] SLCP emissions can influence local and regional climates, and bring about an alteration in the local weather patterns, which in turn results in change in the air temperature and an increased risk of exposure to natural hazards.[1]

Acknowledging, the wide range of impact of SLCPs on health and its associated determinants, it is of crucial importance that all the nations, concerned departments, cities, and other stakeholders at local, regional, trans-national and global levels take measures now itself to reduce their emissions, and thus promote health and avoid illness/mortality, which often affect the most vulnerable sections of society.[1],[4] In fact, it has been anticipated that by successfully reducing the emission of SLCPs, every year close to 3.5 million premature deaths can be averted until 2030.[1] Further, it has been advocated that the environment and health sector should work together in a concerted manner, and there should be an integration of health concerns into national and local air pollution strategies, to prevent climate change, and ensure good health so that the overall benefits can be achieved immediately and locally.[2],[4]

The first and foremost thing is to enhance the level of political will and commitment to reduce both the emissions of SLCPs and limiting the exposure to humans from the public health perspective.[1],[3] In this regard, it is quite essential that local evidence should be generated to ensure that adequate evidences are brought into the notice of policy makers and appropriate interventions are planned and implemented.[1],[4] The recommended measures can be broadly categorized as immediate (transport-related strategies), short-term (fuel alternatives, prevention of food wastage), and long-term (agricultural reforms) measures, but to achieve sustained results all the key areas should be addressed simultaneously.[1],[5]

However, to make it simplified and more acceptable to the nations, the World Health Organization has released a four-pronged strategy, namely providing fuel alternatives or stove to 3 billion households which are still dependent on wood or dung for heating and cooking; implementing higher emissions and efficiency standards for vehicles to improve the air quality and reduce outdoor air pollution; formulating strategies to prioritize rapid transit through bus or trains and at the same time creating an enabling environment for safe pedestrian and cycle networks; and encouraging high and middle-income people to augment the production of nutritious plant-based foods which not only benefit by reducing heart ailments or cancers, but even reduce methane emission, all of which can play a remarkable role in significantly reducing the after-effects of SLCP.[1],[2],[4],[5]

Furthermore, any reduction in emission of SLCPs eventually can result in health benefits directly from reducing air pollution and associated morbidities, or indirectly by addressing the challenge of climate deterioration, dietary habits, or physical inactivity.[4] Anyways, most of these proposed interventions are cost-effective and relatively inexpensive when compared with the loss of life and costs involved in improving the health standards of people who are suffering from air-pollution related illnesses, traffic injuries, and diseases related to physical inactivity.[1],[4]

To conclude, the SLCPs can cast a major impact on the health status of people worldwide, and thus it is our responsibility to address it immediately so that both near and long-term climate changes can be mitigated.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Reducing global health risks through mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants — Scoping report for policymakers. Geneva: WHO Press; 2015. p. 1-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Shoemaker JK, Schrag DP, Molina MJ, Ramanathan V. Climate change. What role for short-lived climate pollutants in mitigation policy? Science 2013;342:1323-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Unger N. Short-lived non-CO (2) pollutants and climate policy: Fair trade? Environ Sci Technol 2010;44:5332-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. New Report Identifies Four Ways to Reduce Health Risks from Climate Pollutants; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/reducing-climate-pollutants/en/. [Last accessed on 2015 Oct 22].  Back to cited text no. 4
Smith KR, Jerrett M, Anderson HR, Burnett RT, Stone V, Derwent R, et al. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: Health implications of short-lived greenhouse pollutants. Lancet 2009;374:2091-103.  Back to cited text no. 5


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