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Deforestation, 22 Polluted Indian Cities & August 22 ‘Doomsday’: 6 Alarming Facts About The World We Live In

Earth Struggles To BreatheiStock
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Earth Struggles To Breathe
As the planet struggles to come to terms with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a respite of sorts, for Mother Nature. . With clearer skies, clean water bodies, it looked like the environment was healing.

However, a closer look at the statistics show that the positive effects of the pandemic on the environment are only short-term and it will take a long time to undo the damage.

On World Environment Day 2020, we have prepared a list of alarming facts about the environment and pollution which are proof that if we don’t act now, things might never be the same again.
Pollution Leading To DeathsiStock
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Pollution Leading To Deaths
India is home to 22 of the world's 50 most polluted cities. The outdoor pollutants cause damage to the lungs, the respiratory system and can also lead to death.

Around 627,000 premature deaths in India can be attributed to ambient PM 2.5 exposure in air outdoors. However, outdoor pollution is not the only menace that we are dealing with. When household or indoor pollution is added, the figure rises to a whopping 1.6 million.

The burden of these 1.6 million deaths, however, is borne disproportionately by the poor population in rural areas who rely on solid fuels for cooking. This also poses a major challenge when it comes to putting an end to air pollution.

6 Mn Asthma Attacks Every YeariStock
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6 Mn Asthma Attacks Every Year
Delhi is officially the most polluted city in the world with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 527, says weather forecasting agency Skymet. However, one of the most alarming facts about Delhi’s air is that it leads to a staggering 6 million asthma attacks every year.

The particulate matter or PM levels, which is designated as 2.5 or 10, are high in Delhi. PM 2.5 levels are linked to between 7,350 and 16,200 premature deaths in the city alone.

Apart from 6 million asthma attacks every year, the population in the National Capital is also prone to several other respiratory diseases.
Alarming CO2 LevelsiStock
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Alarming CO2 Levels
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, most of the global population was locked indoors for a considerable period of time. As the vehicular pollution decreased, skies became clearer and water bodies were less polluted.

However, the positive effect of the novel coronavirus outbreak on the environment didn’t last for long. As per the website conservation.org, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in earth’s atmosphere is the highest it has been in human history, clocking in at 416 parts per million.

Carbon dioxide is a green-house gas which traps the Sun’s heat and increases the earth’s temperature leading to global warming. With rising temperatures and CO2 levels despite Covid-19 pandemic, it is worrisome to think how things will be once restrictions are lifted.
August 22, The D-DayiStock
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August 22, The D-Day
Another alarming fact about the environment is that we will consume all of earth’s resources for the year 2020 by August 2020. Earth Overshoot Day is a symbolic date on which humanity's consumption for the year outstrips Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources that year.

The calculated date was July 29 for the year 2019. For the year 2020, the date is August 22. To put things in perspective, the Earth Overshoot Day for the year 1999 was September 29.

Once the resources of earth are consumed before they can be regenerated, extreme weather events such as soil erosion, deforestation, CO2 build-up in the atmosphere begin to occur.
The Glaciers Are MeltingiStock
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The Glaciers Are Melting
Due to global warming, earth’s glacier cover is falling at a rapid rate. Approximately 10 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with glaciers. Glaciers are the world’s largest reservoirs of freshwater and are responsible for the world's 75% fresh water supply.

However, due to global warming, the glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Between the years 1961 to 1997, the world’s glaciers lost 890 cubic miles of ice. The Montana Glacier National park in the US, which had 150 glaciers is now left with only 26.
The Forest Cover Is DepletingiStock
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The Forest Cover Is Depleting
Deforestation is leading to a massive decrease in earth’s green cover. The 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires caused a massive increase in the carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels of the earth.

By August 22 2019, NASA's AIRS published maps of increased carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide resulting from Brazil's wildfires. On the same day, the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service reported a "discernible spike" in emissions of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide generated by the fires.

According to the website conservation.org, every day, about 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of rainforest — an area nearly 14 times the size of Manhattan — are burned around the world.
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