Just 12% of the global population lives in cities with acceptable air quality, and half of all urbanites are subjected to air pollution levels more than 2.5 times the recommended threshold, according to a new study from the World Health Organization. Mexico City, Karachi and Delhi are among the worst offenders, and researchers also found poor air quality in the U.S. and in European metropolises such as Paris and London.
An analysis of data from the Nurses' Health Study found that living in areas with the highest levels of diesel particulates or mercury during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of having a child with autism. Prenatal exposure to other pollutants such as lead, manganese and hard metals also was tied to increased odds of autism, researchers reported in the Environmental Health Perspectives.
More than 100 New York City restaurants including Momofuku, Le Bernardin, Chipotle and Pret a Manger have joined a pledge to cut the amount of food waste they send to landfills by 50% by boosting composting and recycling efforts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced. Restaurants currently generate about 70% of the city's commercial food waste, he said.
Manufacturers are increasingly finding that going green brings bottom-line benefits, writes Linda Mayer, CEO of Schott North America. Subaru, Honda, Ford and GM are all pushing ahead with waste-reduction strategies at their plants, Mayer notes. "[I]t's heartening to see so many examples of how business goes hand in hand with sustainability to continue innovating new and better manufacturing processes," she writes.