Translated by Atefeh Rezvan-Nia
Edited by Mohammad Reza M. Karimi
Polluting industries will decline by 10 percent in Iran by the end of the current Iranian year (ending March 20, 2014).
Announcing this, Mohammad Ali Shaeri, the deputy head of Iran’s Department of Environment, said 70 percent of air pollution in Tehran are produced by cars and the rest is from polluting industries.
“Some 50 percent of polluting industries have become clean now,” he said, adding that related organizations have devised programs to achieve global standards with regard to pollution.
He said the number of polluting industries has declined in the country in the past 2 years.
“The polluting industries have declined from 4,200 to 2,700 in the past two years,” he said.
Pollutants and Diseases
Many international studies have shown a link between air pollution and various types of diseases, particularly cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
Announcing this, Abdollah Fazl-Alizadeh, the head of Iran’s Cancer Society, said inhaling metal particulates in air pollution can cause cancers.
“Until now, major cancer risk factors were diet, narcotics and lifestyle. Now air pollution has been added to this list as a very important factor,” he said.
Fazl-Alizadeh noted that air pollution can cause different cancers in the long run, adding that patients already suffering from cardiovascular disease, asthma and lung diseases are more likely to develop cancers.
“Cancers have increased in Iran in the past five years. The cancer rate has increased by 15 percent in the current Iranian year compared with the previous year,” he said, adding that 90,000 cancer patients have been recognized in Iran in the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2013).
Fazl-Alizadeh also said reducing air polluting industries and solving traffic-related pollution are key to preventing diseases.
Every year, about 1.65 million tons of pollutants are released in Tehran’s air. The annual amount of asbestos produced in Tehran is 10 times the global standards.
While the average carbon dioxide level stood at 4.9 tons in 2007 in the world, the carbon dioxide level in Iran was 7 tons.
Climate Change Will Make Millions Homeless
It is increasingly likely that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced from their homelands in the near future as a result of global warming.
That is the stark warning of economist and climate change expert, Lord Stern, following the news last week that concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere had reached a level of 400 parts per million (PPM).
“Massive movements of people are likely to occur over the rest of the century because global temperatures are likely to rise to 5 degrees Celsius because carbon dioxide levels have risen unabated for 50 years,” said Stern, who is the head of Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, Guardian reported.
“When temperatures rise to that level, we will have disrupted weather patterns and spreading deserts,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homelands because their crops and animals will have died. The trouble will come when they try to migrate into new lands, however. That will bring them into armed conflict with people already living there. Nor will it be an occasional occurrence. It could become a permanent feature of life on Earth.”
The news that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached 400 ppm has been seized by experts because that level brings the world close to the point where it becomes inevitable that it will experience a catastrophic rise in temperatures.
Scientists have warned for decades of the danger of allowing industrial outputs of carbon dioxide to rise unchecked.
Instead, these outputs have accelerated. In the 1960s, carbon dioxide levels rose at a rate of 0.7 ppm a year. Today, they rise at 2.1 ppm, as more nations become industrialized and increase outputs from their factories and power plants. The last time the Earth’s atmosphere had 400 ppm carbon dioxide, the Arctic was ice-free and sea levels were 40 meters higher.
The prospect of Earth returning to these climatic conditions is causing major alarm. As temperatures rise, deserts will spread and life-sustaining weather patterns such as the North Indian monsoon could be disrupted. Agriculture could fail on a continent-wide basis and hundreds of millions of people would be rendered homeless, triggering widespread conflict.
There are likely to be severe physical consequences for the planet. Rising temperatures will shrink polar ice caps-- the Arctic’s is now at its lowest since records began--and so reduce the amount of solar heat they reflect back into space.
Similarly, thawing of the permafrost lands of Alaska, Canada and Russia could release even more greenhouse gases, including methane, and further intensify global warming.
A wide variety of plants and animals are likely to become much less common if something isn’t done to avert the worst effects of a warming climate, new research suggests.
Under a “business as usual” scenario, where greenhouse gas emissions aren’t significantly reduced, about 50 percent of plants and one-third of animals are likely to vanish from half of the places they are now found by 2080, said Rachel Warren, a researcher at the University of East Anglia in England. These losses could lead to local extinctions of species.
In the study, published online on May 12 in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers looked at the likely effects of global warming on 50,000 species around the world. The study used a computer model that calculated the desired climatic zone that these plants and animals live in, and analyzed how these zones, and the organisms’ accompanying ranges, are likely to shift in the future, Warren told OurAmazingPlanet.
“In many cases, these shifts are likely to cause extinctions, as warming temperatures force animals and plants to move to points beyond which they cannot go, such as up mountaintops and toward coastlines into the ocean,” Warren said.
“However, plants and animals with limited ranges were intentionally excluded from this study, because the goal was to gauge climate change’s effects on common species.”
In other words, if you include total extinctions--which this study did not--the impact of climate change on global biodiversity looks even worse.
It’s not too late to do something to prevent the widespread loss of species, however.
“The study found that if emissions are slowed and ultimately begin being reduced by 2017, about 60 percent of the losses can be avoided,” Warren said.
If emissions peak in 2030 and are reduced after that, about 40 percent of the losses could be avoided.
“The losses are likely to be particularly severe in Central and South America, Australia, North Africa and Southeast Asia,” Warren said.
Vaccine Skeptics in Argentina
Argentina is one of the Latin American countries with the highest levels of vaccination coverage. But experts are concerned about the growing campaign by vaccine critics against immunization.
“Vaccines have saved as many lives as clean water. Risking not giving shots is like playing Russian roulette,” Dr. Carlota Russ, secretary of the Argentine Pediatric Society’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, told IPS.
Russ said that in industrialized countries, immunization coverage is in decline as the culture of vaccination weakens, creating a risk of reemergence of diseases that have already been controlled, like measles.
“Fortunately, in Argentina, the anti-vaccine movement is not strong,” she said.
“However, when a case of refusal to vaccinate reaches the courts, the story has a great impact in the media and produces a wave of uncertainty that reaches even clinics and doctors’ offices.”
Well-informed, well-educated parents with small children are drawn in by theories alleging adverse effects from the inoculation of viruses, bacteria or toxic substances.
In 2012, the case of a couple who refused to vaccinate their child reached the Supreme Court, which ordered that the mandatory state immunization plan be administered, “by force” if necessary, “for the greater good of the child and of public health”.
In an interview with IPS, pediatrician Eduardo Yahbes, of the Argentine Homeopathic Medical Association, said the family “had a poor legal defense”, and endorsed their right to refuse to have their child immunized.
Yahbes is one of the health professionals who contribute to the web site “Libre Vacunacion” (Vaccination Freedom), which says that the idea that immunization is safe and effective, or that it is the only means of preventing diseases, is a myth.
“Vaccines are not effective; the idea that infectious diseases have disappeared thanks to vaccines is a fraud,” said the pediatricians, a practitioner of alternative medicine.
Yahbes quoted a number of research studies that purportedly show the adverse effects of vaccines, and blamed “the hegemony of the dominant medical system that violates people’s human rights” by forcing them to receive medical treatments they do not want.
In Argentina, the mandatory vaccination schedule included four vaccines in 1970, and now includes 16. According to the Pan American Health Organization, it is one of the most comprehensive protocols on the continent.
In addition to traditional vaccines like BCG (against tuberculosis) or the Sabin anti-polio vaccine, new ones, for example for preventing infection with human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer, have been added in recent years.
Bangladesh Plans Pay Raise For Garment Workers
Bangladesh’s government plans to raise the minimum wage for garment workers after the deaths of more than 1,100 people in the collapse of a factory building focused attention on the textile industry’s dismal pay and hazardous working conditions.
“A new minimum wage board will issue recommendations for pay raises within three months,” Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddiky said on Sunday.
The Cabinet will then decide whether to accept those proposals, AP reported.
The wage board will include representatives of factory owners, workers and the government.
The April 24 building collapse was one of the world’s worst industrial disasters and has raised alarm about conditions in Bangladesh’s powerful textile industry that supplies retailers globally.
Working conditions in the $20 billion industry are grim, a result of government corruption, desperation for jobs and industry indifference. Minimum wages for garment workers were last raised by 80 percent to 3,000 takas ($38) a month in 2010 following protests by workers.
Rescue workers said 1,125 bodies had been recovered by late Sunday from the ruins of the fallen Rana Plaza building, which housed five garment factories employing thousands of workers.
Teams were using hydraulic cranes, bulldozers, shovels and iron cutters to uncover bodies more than two weeks after the eight-story building collapsed.
China Facing Shortage of Male Nurses
Chinese male nurses, who represent less than 1 percent of the total nursing population, are in huge demand in the nation’s job market, the Chinese Nursing Association (CNA) said on Sunday.
Cheng Gen, a CNA member in charge of male nurse related work, said male nurses are expected to be very popular in the future job market considering their small number and huge market demand, Xinhua reported.
Cheng said male nurses mainly work in intensive care unit (ICU), emergency medicine department, cardiovascular department and mental disease unit.
“Such a population is swelling rapidly, especially in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai,” Cheng said, adding that among the approximately 60,000 registered nurses in Beijing, more than 2,000 are men, accounting for 3 percent, a share higher than the nation’s average.
Cheng attributed the rapid rise in male nurse population to significant improvement of remunerations for nurses.
“In the past, men were reluctant to stay a nurse and many quitted their jobs for low-pay and limited career development,” he said.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Friday nurses’ working conditions and remunerations have improved in recent years.
Taj Mahal Replica to Mourn Wife
When Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan lost his beloved wife Mumtaz in 1631, he built the Taj Mahal, the white marble mausoleum regarded by many as the world’s greatest monument to love and grief.
So when 77-year-old retired postmaster Faizul Hasan Kadari’s wife died in December 2011, he knew exactly what he had to do: build his own Taj Mahal for the wife he loved no less than the great Mughal loved his, Mail Today reported.
Now, 16 months later, his ‘mini-Taj’ is taking shape on a 5,000 square feet plot in Bulandshahr, near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and the grieving farmer is on his way to becoming a local celebrity.
While the Taj Mahal stands at 561 feet and is flanked by four 130 feet minarets, Faizul Hasan Kadari’s mausoleum and memorial to his love, Begum Tajmulli, is a rough replica the height of a large unfinished house, waiting for its white marble cladding and calligraphy inscriptions.
So far, he has spent around £25,000 on the Bulandshahr Taj, but plans to spend more yet.
“There would be everything which the Taj Mahal has. When completed, it will cover about two acres of land, which may also have a garden similar to the garden of Taj Mahal. I have spent about Rs. 20 lakhs so far,” he explained.
He had once regarded Shah Jahan’s monument to his wife’s memory was wasteful and extravagant until his own wife died.
“I used to think that Shah Jahan insulted the common man by building a magnificent monument to love. But after the death of my wife in December 2011, I realized that it had more about the intensity of love than the money,” he told the Mail Today.
“Since we were issueless and I had no other liabilities, I started construction of my own Taj Mahal on a piece of land which was not useful for agricultural purposes,” he added.
Now his wife is buried inside and he hopes they will be reunited when he finally passes away.
A report recently drafted by Turkey shows that almost 80 percent of guns seized by police from incidents threatening public security during 2010-12 were unregistered.