Air pollution 'too high' in most of world's cities

Air pollution in cities such as Delhi is exceeding safe levels, the WHO says

The World Health Organization says air pollution in many of the world's cities is breaching its guidelines.

Its survey of 1,600 cities in 91 countries revealed that nearly 90% of people in urban centers breathe air that fails to meet levels deemed safe.

The WHO says that about half of the world's urban population is exposed to pollution at least 2.5 times higher than it recommends.

Air quality was poorest in Asia, followed by South America and Africa.

Air pollution linked to seven million deaths globally

Seven million people died as a result of air pollution in 2012, the World Health Organization estimates.

Its findings suggest a link between air pollution and heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer. One in eight global deaths were linked with air pollution, making it "the world's largest single environmental health risk", the WHO said.

Nearly six million of the deaths had been in South East Asia and the WHO's Western Pacific region, it found. The evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe”

Sarkis: Syria Committed to management of Nature Reserves

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Minister of State for Environment Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, underlined that Syria's joining to all international environmental conventions on the protection of biodiversity is part of its commitment to the protection of biodiversity and management of nature reserves and wildlife.

Dr. Sarkis recently opened here a training workshop about wildlife monitoring and management of protected areas within the framework of the project to strengthen regional capacity in the area of management and sustainable protection of wildlife and nature reserves in the Near East region which is funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Ministries of Environment, Agriculture Use Modern Technologies to Protect Wildlife

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The second training workshop on the use of geographic information systems in the management of protected areas and wildlife was opened here within the framework of the project to strengthen the regional capacity in this area the Near East region funded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO.

The Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture Eng. Wajih  El-Khoury  underlined the importance of the workshop in the conservation of biodiversity through the collection of data and information about wildlife and nature reserves by using geographic information systems as a modern way in the presentation of information and developed using databases and software and submitting them to those who take interest in the wildlife and take the appropriate decision, which depends on the size and the quality of available information.

 For his part, Director of Biodiversity at the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs Eng. Bilal al Hayek pointed out that that this system is an integrated decision to support using GIS technology which provides a detailed report through the analysis of available environmental information, indicating that by providing the program with the geographical coordinates of the required site due to be assessed, the location is presented on the map and giving a report on it, which facilitates the protection and development of wildlife and nature reserves and conservation.

For his part, the National Coordinator of the Project, Eng. Omar Zreiq, noted that the project comes within the framework of the fruitful cooperation between the Syrian government represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO for the protection of wildlife and protected areas, pointing out that the project includes three training courses. The first session was implemented, which included the databases and the information and priorities in the protection and sustainable management.

Sharif el -Khatib

Sarkis: Creating Databases for the Management of Wildlife in Syria

DAMASCUS, (ST) -The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Naira Sarkis, has underlined that the ministry is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture to create databases for the management of wildlife and natural reserves and pastorals in a sustainable way to alleviate the effects of vandalism and destruction caused to biodiversity.

During the opening of a workshop on "the protection and sustainable management of natural reserves", the minister indicated to the importance of the database to protect the development of wildlife and nature reserves, conservation of the dangers of pollution and depletion of natural resources, raising the efficiency of use and the study of social and economic impacts on them.

"Creating a database is an important way to help researchers and decision-makers and management of nature reserves in the use of methods and techniques in a systematic and modern work," the minister pointed out.

For his part, the Director of Biodiversity and Land Reserves in the ministry, eng. Bilal al-Hayek,  said the workshop comes within the project  of management and protection of wildlife and nature reserves in the Middle East and regions of the Near East, which is implemented by the Syrian government with the United Nations Food and Agriculture, (FAO)  pointing out that this workshop is the first the project's workshops  that is being implemented in coordination with the General Authority for Remote Sensing.

The workshop included many themes that focused on the overall design of databases concerning protected areas and wildlife and the definition of interfaces input, update, and computer programming and networking to manage their own databases in addition to practical applications in the use of input interfaces to databases in protected areas and wildlife.

Trainees from the Ministry of State for Environmental and the Ministry of Agriculture took part in the two-day workshop.

Sharif  el -Khatib