chapter  1
48 Pages

Urban Air Pollution in Asia

Urban air pollution affects the health, well-being and life chances of hundreds of millions of men, women and children in Asia every day. It is responsible for an estimated 537,000 premature deaths annually with indoor air pollution being responsible for over double this number of deaths (WHO, 2002). It is often the poor and socially marginalized who tend to suffer disproportionately from the effects of deteriorating air quality due to living near sources of pollution (Martins et al, 2004; Gouveia and Fletcher, 2000; Stern, 2003). The ubiquitous Asian street hawker who sits beside strategic road junctions experiencing the general hustle and bustle of daily life and traffic is being exposed to high concentrations of motor vehicle pollutants increasing the risk of developing respiratory disease and cancer (Chakraborti, 2003). Children ill with respiratory disease caused by exposure to high concentrations of air pollutants will be children who will not learn very well, will suffer in adult life from low levels of qualifications and skills, which in turn has implications for their quality of life and the economic development of the country as a whole.