Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been increased by 34.5 percent between August 2019 and July 2020 compared to the same period the previous year.
A total of 9,205 square km of forest destroyed, reports Xinhua.
The National Institute for Space Research (INPE), a body connected to the Ministry of Science and Technology, calculates deforestation using the Real-Time Deforestation Detection System, which monitors the world's largest forest by satellite.
The INPE said on Friday that 1,654 square km of forest were destroyed in July, less than that in the same period last year.
This is the first time in 14 months that destruction in the Amazon recorded a monthly decline.
Over the past year, Brazil has received harsh criticism from the international community over the high rate of deforestation in the Amazon.
In response, the Brazilian government promised to tighten enforcement to limit environmental crime in the region.
An analysis of data from the Air Quality Life Index, conducted by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) finds that particulate pollution cuts global life expectancy by nearly two years, relative to what it would be if air quality met the World Health Organization guideline.
Air pollution is a major threat to billions of people worldwide and amid the global coronavirus pandemic researchers have preliminary identified a positive correlation between COVID-19-related mortalities and air pollution.
The analysis reveals that particulate pollution was the greatest risk to human health before COVID-19 and unless, there is strong and sustained public policy, it will be after COVID-19.
Working unseen inside the human body, particulate pollution has a more demolishing impact on life expectancy than communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers like cigarette smoking, and even war.
Particulate pollution is a significant concern in Southeast Asia as nearly a quarter of the global population lives in four countries in South Asia that are among the world's most polluted: Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
People living in these countries could see their lives cut short by five years on average, after being exposed to pollution levels that are now 44 percent higher than they were two decades ago.
Vehicles, power plants and industry combine with forest and cropland fires are the traditional pollution sources in these countries where particulate pollution exceeds the WHO guideline.
High pollution across the entirety of Bangladesh makes it the most polluted country in the world. However, the most severe pollution is found in parts of India, especially northern India, including the megacities of Delhi and Kolkata.
The good news is that many countries have decided to take action and are succeeding in cleaning the air.
The United States, Europe and Japan have likewise experienced success in reducing pollution as strong policies were made to came on the heels of public calls for change. China sets an exquisite example by starting a "war against pollution" in 2013. Since then, three-quarters of the world's reductions in pollution have come from China. It has reduced particulate pollution by nearly 40 percent. If these reductions are sustained, Chinese citizens can expect to live about two years longer than they would have prior to the reforms.
“As countries today try to balance the dual goals of economic growth and environmental quality, the historical lesson from around the world is that policy can reduce air pollution in a wide variety of political contexts,” said Michael Greenstone, director of EPIC . “The AQLI makes clear that the benefits are measured in longer and healthier lives.”
Air pollution in Bangladesh
Despite efforts by the government, Bangladesh’s citizens continue to breathe in the most polluted air in the world exposing themselves to various diseases in addition to financial loss.
The situation is so bad that Bangladesh was ranked as the most polluted country in the world for PM2.5 exposure, according to 2019 World Air Quality Report by IQAir published Tuesday.
As Bangladesh has long been grappling with air pollution, the High Court, at one point, even observed that it was time to declare Dhaka, the sprawling overcrowded megacity, as an “ecologically critical area” due to widespread pollution, and issued a nine-point directive to bring down air pollution.
Experts say the air has become very harmful due to discharge of dust from unplanned construction works, metro-rail project, road repair, installation of utility lines, smoke from vehicles and brick kilns.
A 2016 World Bank report said air pollution has emerged as the deadliest form of pollution and fourth leading risk factor for premature deaths worldwide. Deaths caused by air pollution cost the global economy a staggering $225 billion.
WHO estimates show that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air. In a report, the UN health agency said that around 93 percent children under 15 breathe polluted air every day.
A group of United Nations (UN) experts has called for the lifting of all unilateral sanctions, so that people in countries under sanctions can protect themselves against COVID-19.
"Sanctions should be lifted, or at a minimum eased, so people can get basics like soap and disinfectants to stay healthy, and so that hospitals can get ventilators and other equipment to keep people alive," they said in a press statement on Friday, reports Xinhua.
"Sanctions that were imposed in the name of delivering human rights are in fact killing people and depriving them of fundamental rights, including the rights to health, to food and to life itself," said the UN experts.
Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, said that sanctions are bringing suffering and death in countries like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
Other experts -- including Obiora Okafor, the UN independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, Tlaleng Mofokeng, UN special rapporteur on the right to health, Michael Fakhri, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, and Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions -- joined Douhan in signing Friday's statement.
The experts also welcomed efforts by many states, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to try to help sanctioned countries fight COVID-19.
"We particularly welcome the willingness of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, China, the United States and other donors to ship much needed medical supplies," they said in the statement.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has reached 4,941,635 as of Saturday morning, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the national death toll from the disease rose to 161,347, according to the CSSE, reports Xinhua.
The hardest-hit state California recorded 541,693 cases, followed by Florida with 510,389 cases, Texas 484,400 cases and New York 419,642 cases, the tally showed.
States with over 180,000 cases also include Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey and Arizona, the CSSE data showed.
The fatalities from the massive explosions that rocked Port of Beirut on Tuesday has reached 154 till Friday.
Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan came up with the information on Friday, reports Xinhua.
The number of seriously injured patients has reached 120 as the shattered glasses caused severe injuries that required surgeries.
Besides, 20 percent of the 5,000 injuries need hospitalization.
Two huge explosions rocked Port of Beirut on Tuesday evening, killing at least 154 people and injuring about 5,000 others, while causing massive damages in the city.