Minister Champika Ranawake now promoting cycling in the traffic polluted streets in Colombo to spread heart deceases among his unsuspecting followers- City cycling ‘could do damage to heart’ due to polluting chemicals, new research claims
Posted on June 7th, 2015

This is what Minister Ranawake says

  • බයිසිකලය දුප්පතාගේ ප්‍රවාහනය නොවේ. නවීන ප්‍රවාහනයයි.
  • බෝ නොවන රෝග පාලනයටල නිරෝගී දිවි පෙවතකට බයිසිකල් පැදීම හිතකරයි.
  • පවුලේ, රටේ ආර්ථීකය සේම විදේශ විනිමයටද ඍජු බලපැම්.

අනාගතය වෙනුවෙන් තෙල් හා විදුලිය ඉතිරු කිරීමේ අරමුණින් මැයි මස 16 වනදා ආරම්භ කළ ,හෙටක් වෙනුවෙන් රටක්, ජාතික බලශක්ති සංරක්ෂණ වැඩසටහනේ තවත් ප්‍රමුඛ අදියරක් අද උදෑසන 7.00 ට ජයවර්ධනපුර කිඹුලාවල හන්දියේදී ආරම්භ කෙරිණ. සමස්ථ ලංකා පාපැදි සංගමයත්, ඒ. එම්. සුමනවීරල ඇන්තනී සිමන්ස් වැනි රටේ නම ගිය පාපැදිකරුවන්, ත්‍රිවිධ හමුදා පාපැදි කණ්ඩායම් නියෝජිතයන් ප්‍රමුඛ 600 ක් පාපැදිකරුවන් අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක මැතිතුමන්, අමාත්‍යාංශ ලේකම්තුමන් සහ විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්‍යාංශයට අනුබද්ධ නිලධාරීන් පෙරටුකර ගනිමින් ප්‍රදර්ශනාත්මක පාපැදි ධාවන තරග ඉසව්වක් පැවැත්විණ. මෙම පාපැදි ධාවනය පාර්ලිමේන්තු වටරවුම පසුකර රාජගිරිය හරහා කාසල් වීදිය, කනත්ත වටරවුම පසුකර බෞද්ධාලෝක මාවතේ මලලසේකර මාවත විදුලි සංඥා අසලින් දකුණට හැරී නිදහස් චතුරස්‍රයට ප්‍රවේශ විය.අපට ගැළපෙනල රටට ගැළපෙන පරිසර හිතකාමී සෑම ප්‍රවාහන මාධ්‍යක්ම ජනප්‍රිය කරවීම රජයක වගකීම බවත් ඒ සදහා පූර්වාදර්ශයක් සපයමින් ඉදිරියේදී කටයුතුකරන බවත් ඇමති පාඨලී චම්පික රණවක මහතා සදහන් කර සිටියේ කිලෝමීටර් 11.02 ක් දුර සාර්ථකව පා පැදි ධාවනය අවසන් කොට නිදහස් චතුරස්‍ර භූමියට පැමිණිමෙන් පසුවය.

But This is the hidden Truth

City cycling ‘could do damage to heart’ due to polluting chemicals, new research claims

Cycling in heavy pollution could affect heart’s ability to respond to different levels of exertion, say Dublin scientists

Cycling in cities could do more damage than good to a rider’s heart due to dangerous pollutants in the air, a new study based on cycling in Dublin has found. 

The Dublin study is not the first to suggest that air pollution in cities may pose a health risk to cyclists back in 2011 we reported on a study conducted by Proffessor John Grigg for Barts and The London School of Medicine which found that London cyclists inhaled 2.3 times more black carbon than pedestrians. That same year a study in Ottawasuggested that cyclists could experience short term heart irregularities in urban cyclists exposed to high levels of pollution.

The problem for cyclists is that when they exert themselves breathe more heavily than pedestrians, meaning their exposure to miniscule particles of polluting chemicals is increased.

The Scientists who have studied cyclists in Dublin say that these chemicals reduce the ability of the heart to respond to different rates of exertion (a similar finding to the 2011 Ottawa study).

They noted that: These [findings] indicate that exercise while commuting has an influence on inhaled particulate matter, associated with acute declines in heart rate variability, especially in pedestrians and cyclists.”

As well as exhaust fumes, studies have shown that vehicle brakes and tyres also generate potentially dangerous particles, which can penetrate the lungs due to their tiny size and work their way into the bloodstream.

The Dublin study of 32 fit healthy cyclists was led by Marguerite Nyhan of Trinity College Dublin, who advised riders to choose relatively traffic-free routes for their health.

A spokesman for Sustrans, a charity that campaigns for cycling and walking, said: Air pollution is a concern and Sustrans is calling on the government to ban unfiltered diesel vehicles from Britain’s cities. However, the benefits of cycling and walking far outweigh the health risks.”

Professor Ross Anderson of the government’s advisory committee on the medical effects of air pollutants told the Sunday Times (£): While the health benefits of cycling are likely to be beneficial, the balancing of risks is problematic. Other epidemiological evidence suggests that traffic pollution has lasting health effects.”

While any exposure to pollution is unlikely to be a good thing it it worth noting that the studies from Dublin, London, and Ottawa were based on a small sample sizes – 32 in Dublin, 42 in Ottawa. it’s also worth noting that accordint to a  Danish study car occupants are most at risk of inhaling harmful traffic pollution being exposed to up to four times the levels of pollutants that cyclists are.

Currently the best advice for urban cyclists who want to reduce their exposure to harmful pollutants is to opt for quieter routes on less busy roads. One other suggestion resulting fromt he Ottawa study is that cyclists should keep at least 15 feet back from a car or lorry’s exhaust pipe. The closer you get to the exhuast the finer the particulates of the most harmful pollutants – but as they get further from the exhaust they tend to clump together in to heavier particles which fall to the ground and are thus less likely to be breathed in.

As we reported last year, Glasgow is the most polluted city in the UK, and the fifth worst in the whole of Europe, a study has shown.

The report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) measured the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide, caused by exhaust fumes and industrial pollution.

Only ten cities, of which Glasgow was one, breached the limits for the harmful gas. Levels in Glasgow were 46.3 microgrammes per cubic metre, above the legal European limit of 40mg/m3.

According to government information, nitrogen dioxide is pretty nasty stuff:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of a group of gases called nitrogen oxides. Road transport is estimated to be responsible for about 50% of total emissions of nitrogen oxides, which means that nitrogen dioxide levels are highest close to busy roads and in large urban areas. Gas boilers in buildings are also a source of nitrogen oxides.
There is good evidence that nitrogen is harmful to health. The most common outcomes are respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and cough. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lung and reduces immunity to lung infections such as bronchitis. Studies also suggest that the health effects are more pronounced in people with asthma compared to healthly individuals.
In recent years the average level of nitrogen dioxide within London has not fallen as quickly as predicted. This largely appears to be the result of diesel cars creating more nitrogen dioxide than was anticipated.
Nitrogen dioxide also reacts with hydrocarbons in the presence of sunlight to create ozone, and contributes to the formation of particles*.

*tiny bits of solids or liquids suspended in the air, that can settle in the airway and deep in the lungs and cause health problems.

Pedaling behind pollutant-spewing cars and trucks may not seem as scary as being hit by one, but scientists say it can pose invisible dangers.

Now, for the first time, cycling in heavy traffic has been linked to a heart health risk, Canadian researchers reported last month. A new study found cyclists in Ottawa, Ontario, had heart irregularities in the hours after their exposure to a variety of air pollutants on busy roads.

Pedaling behind pollutant-spewing cars and trucks may not seem as scary as being hit by one, but scientists say it can pose invisible dangers.”Our findings suggest that short-term exposure to traffic may have a significant impact on cardiac autonomic function in healthy adults,” the scientists from Health Canada, Environment Canada and the University of Ottawa wrote in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study does not suggest that bikers would be better off driving, experts say. Rather, the findings intensify the scrutiny on cyclists’ pollution exposure, and point to simple solutions for a cleaner ride, such as avoiding busy roads like 8th Avenue whenever possible.

“It’s something that actually concerns a lot of people that do cycle,” said Michael Brauer, a cyclist and atmospheric scientist at the University of British Columbia who was not involved in the new study. “People want to understand their risk. They’re just thinking all the time, ‘Is this good for me? Is this bad for me? I’m doing my part, but there’s this car that’s throwing this exhaust in my face.’ ”

For the study, 42 healthy, non-smoking cyclists wore heart monitors before, during and after cycling for one hour on high- and low-traffic roads between May and September last year. Instruments on the bikes’ panniers measured exposure to air pollution.

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Brett Israel
Study results point to simple solutions for a cleaner ride, such as avoiding busy roads whenever possible.

Short-term exposure to heavy traffic significantly decreased heart rate variability in the cyclists for up to three hours after they finished cycling. Experts say reduced heart rate variability is associated with a higher risk of heart attacks.

“A very healthy person is like a Ferrari,” said Arden Pope, an expert in the health effects of air pollution and professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “Step on the gas and it really goes fast. Step on the brakes and it really slows down. The human heart, you want it to be like that too.”

But with lower heart rate variability, the heart is behaving more like a minivan than a Ferrari, Pope said, meaning that it is less able to respond to stress.

Researchers are not sure how air pollution alters heart rate variability, Pope said. One idea is that particles in the lungs cause inflammation, which throws off the body’s ability to carry out its automatic functions.

No respiratory effects were found in the cyclists. The researchers did not find any significant changes in their lung function, probably because all the cyclists were healthy, and most had no asthma or other respiratory problems.

Around the world, researchers have found that whenever fine particles increase in the air, deaths and hospitalizations from asthma, heart attacks and other cardiopulmonary problems increase, too.

Hours to weeks of exposure to particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which peak during rush hours, can trigger cardiovascular effects, according to the American Heart Association.

Researchers are not sure how air pollution alters heart rate variability. One idea is that particles in the lungs cause inflammation, which throws off the body’s ability to carry out its automatic functions.For the Canadian cyclists, when their exposure to certain pollutants, including ultrafine particles, nitrogen dioxide or ozone, increased, their heart rate variability decreased, according to the study.

Sheer proximity to tailpipes is one reason why cyclists have a high exposure to the tiny particle pollutants, which are emitted by vehicles along with thousands of other chemicals. Diesel buses and trucks are among the worst offenders.

“The closer you are to the source of the fresh exhaust, the worse it is,” said Patrick Ryan, an environmental epidemiologist at the University of Cincinnati, who studies the health effects of traffic-related pollution.

Near the tailpipe, these particles are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs, triggering heart attacks and hospitalizations from lung diseases such as asthma. Tiny particles can also cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially harming the nervous system. Farther away from the tailpipe, these particles clump together, growing too large to lodge deeply, Ryan said.

Air pollution: how big a problem is it for cyclists?

It prematurely kills around 30,000 Britons a year, but at least on a bike there are measures you can take to reduce the risks

Bike Blog: air pollution
Air pollution in London. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

It’s a scenario familiar to any urban cyclist: you’re stuck behind a fume-belching bus or taxi, a choking diesel aroma wafting through your lungs. You think: is this really the healthy option?

The good, if simple, answer from pollution experts is: yes. Cycling does remain many, many times better for your health than not cycling, even factoring in exposure to pollution and the risk of accident. What’s more surprising is that on two wheels you might even be exposed to less of the smelly stuff than those using other forms of transport.

The more full answer is, inevitably, slightly mixed. Air pollution is a very real danger, with even conservative estimates gauging it prematurely kills almost 30,000 Britons a year, making it the most deadly public health hazard apart from smoking.

And yet, experts say, there are a range of measures cyclists can take to limit their exposure, from taking quieter back routes, to cycling at particular times of the day. There’s even an argument that pollution masks, once common in cities likeLondon but little seen these days, might help. But more of that later.

Gary Fuller, an expert on air quality at King’s College London, notes that the villain behind most of the peril in urban areas is the diesel engine. While petrol vehicles have somewhat cleaned up their emissions in recent years, diesels still emit lots of particulate nasties like black carbon, and are increasingly common in new cars. He says:

People should be worrying about diesel traffic and particle exposure, and also about nitrogen dioxide. The thing about these is they haven’t really improved in urban areas for the last decade or so. We’ve managed to clean up air pollution emissions in terms of nitrogen dioxide from petrol cars.

Buy a petrol car today and it will emit about four-tenths as much in oxides as a car you bought 10 or 12 years ago. But for diesels, despite the fact we have ever-tighter emissions standards the conditions in which the emissions test is performed doesn’t really reflect the real world.

It is, Fuller adds, a national issue:

It’s not just a London problem. You can go out into apparently rural areas with an A-road travelling through a small village and you can find EU limits being exceeded.

That said, the way people are exposed to airborne pollution is not as straightforward as you might think. Fuller’s KCL colleague, Ben Barratt, carried out a test in which a group of Londoners – an ambulance driver, a cycle courier, a toddler, a pensioner, an office worker and a school pupil – spent the same 24-hour period fitted with GPS trackers and an instrument to measure their exposure to black carbon.

Barrett stresses this was no more than an illustrative demonstration study, but the graph of cumulative exposure is nonetheless interesting, with the cycle courier encountering the second-least amount of less black carbon overall, and being exposed to less than the ambulance driver during work hours as a proportion of the total day.

Bike Blog: King's Colllege London pollution study

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A graph produced by Ben Barratt of King’s College London shows the cumulative exposure to black carbon. Photograph: King’s College London

There are other factors at play, Barratt says, not least the ambulance driver’s longer working hours, and the different levels of exposure depending on where people lived. However, he says, it does seem that cycling helps dissipate smog through movement in the open:

A lot of it is about ventilation, and the cycle courier is in a big, open air room, whereas the ambulance driver is in an enclosed box.

Obviously, if you’re replacing dirty air with dirty air it doesn’t make much difference, but with this particular pollutant you’re very susceptible to individual, filthy diesel vehicles, and that’s what the ambulance driver is picking up, I think.

There is, of course, another big factor at play: Barrett’s study measures exposure, not dosage, and a cyclist is likely to breathe more heavily, which could increase the amount of black carbon ingested. Conversely, in a busy city like London a trip by bike can be much quicker than, say, its equivalent on a bus, which can reduce exposure all over again.

As an aside, Barrett notes the relatively small amount of daytime pollution exposure for the office worker, despite the fact they are based in central London. This is, seemingly, because their office is mechanically ventilated:

It’s not necessarily just where you are. It’s a combination of where you are, what you’re doing, and what time of day you’re doing it.

So, as a cyclist, what can you do to limit your exposure? One simple idea is to take quieter back streets, where the concentration of some pollutants can be considerably lower than on main roads. As an illustration, the London Air websiteprovides a live map of smog levels in the capital, showing how so much of it is clustered around big roads.

Fuller also advises riders to consider when they cycle, especially in the summer, when ozone tends to peak in the afternoon, and can have a significant impact on lung function:

Ozone follows a distinct diurnal pattern. It’s always greatest in the mid to late afternoon. It’s not so much for urban cyclists but if you’re looking to have a day out on the bike maybe think about travelling in the morning and then the evening, avoiding the mid afternoon on the hottest, most polluted days. That can reduce your exposure quite a lot.

Ozone build-up is the reason endurance events at the London 2012 Olympics, like the marathon, were mainly scheduled in the morning.

Yet another KCL academic, Ian Mudway, an expert on respiratory toxicology, points to studies by Edinburgh university in co-operation with academics in Beijing, which appeared to show that masks can filter out some smog.

The lessons are not entirely clear, he stresses, not least as the masks used were closer to industrial ones than cycling masks, while Beijing’s pollution is more severe even than London. He says:

Having read those papers I wouldn’t say they have no benefit. I might say that people who wear them probably overestimate the benefits that they’re delivering, but I think there’s enough in that paper to say they make some difference.

Fuller reiterates that the risk from pollution is often underestimated. He cites a questionnaire sent by smog campaigners to MPs, asking them to list a series of public health hazards. Air pollution was, he says, consistently and wrongly placed at the bottom.

It’s an illustration of how the perception of risk isn’t fully understood. I have a feeling cyclists perceive the risk form pollution more than the general public, because they have a much more intimate association with it, much more visceral.

As ever, all this needs to be placed in context. And the context is clear: cycling is, on balance, very good for you even in big cities.

A study last week in the British Medical Journal said London’s hire bike scheme had brought a clear net benefit to health, as activity outweighed the risks from pollution or crashes. An earlier study on Barcelona’s equivalent bike hire scheme, published in the British Medical Journal, estimated the system saved the city an average of more than 12 lives a year overall.

But pollution is still a worry. I have a habit of leaving home sufficiently late that I usually end up cycling to the office along the most choked main roads. There is a perfectly good route which guides me mainly along the back streets, but takes about ten minutes longer. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about that.

10 Responses to “Minister Champika Ranawake now promoting cycling in the traffic polluted streets in Colombo to spread heart deceases among his unsuspecting followers- City cycling ‘could do damage to heart’ due to polluting chemicals, new research claims”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Ranawaka,

    First get the YAAPA(LA)NAYA MPs to cycle to parliament from home every day. After they set the example, people will follow.

    NOT before.

    In developed countries there is a bicycle lane. In SL there is no such lane. People will get KILLED riding to and from work before they get lung cancer, etc. inhaling traffic congested vehicle smoke.

    How this type of fools got into parliament!!

  2. AnuD Says:

    There are far far more cars in the western cities than in whole Sri lanka. Those cities are introducing bike lanes, and taking away lanes on the roads from cars to increase the pedestrian and bicycle traffic. They also build more mass transit net work and subsidize mass tansist and increase Fuel prices to cut auto use.

    So, I can not understand, how promotion of the use of Bicycles increases heart diseases.

  3. Christie Says:

    Namaste; This guy who sold Sinhala identity to come to power and then sold that to Indian Empire will do any trick to get credit from unsuspecting gullible people. This cycling job is a great example of this cunning guy who will sell his family if he gets an extra penny. Are there exclusive cycling paths in the country? Jai Hind

  4. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    This Ranawaka Guy is worse than Andare, the legendary court jester in Sri Lanka. Hardly can you walk on Colombo roads safely let alone cycling?. As Lorenzo said before you get heart problems you can get killed by indiscipline road users and three wheelers. In London they have now developed cycle paths sharing the parks and river embankments completely away from busy roads. My son cycle 14 miles each way to Central London from Middlesex through these eco-friendly cycle paths developed by the London Mayor. Strangely Here in Sri Lanka, our court jester is recommending cycle to work even without having a single bicycle lane in the heavily polluted city of Colombo.

  5. Jag Says:

    Ranawaka and Rajitha are umbilical brothers, the court jesters of the yahapaachana government. As Lorenzo says, he should cycle to parliament with Rajitha ”if” he really mean what he preaches.

    Don’t lead the unsuspecting innocent public to their deaths, to be run over by those crazy drivers and getting cancer inhaling toxic diesel fumes.

  6. Ratanapala Says:

    These slowly crept into politics to represent the interests of the Sinhala Buddhists. Now he has forgotten his brief entirely. Instead he has been given a dead rope to carry the Energy Ministry. Not a word is spoken about the rights and privileges of the Sinhala Buddhists. He must be having a hidden agenda not to do so.

    The others who hang around him including Ven Ratana and Ven O Sobita seems to have forgotten what they came to represent. All these people who have now lost their bearings in politics should no longer masquerade and feign to represent the Sinhala Buddhists. They have sided with the Christian administration now in power who are busy stacking the administration with Anti Sri Lanka Christians in every sphere of the administration.

    Now it is up to the Sinhala Buddhists who voted these imposters to reject them outright for they have betrayed their cause and abandoned their promise to safeguard the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

    Buddhist Sri Lanka is in mortal danger in the hands of these traitors. Ranawaka and those who hang around with him are traitors to the Sinhala Buddhist cause

  7. Independent Says:

    He is copying from Western countries.
    Cycling may be good as an exercise and as Lorenzo said parliament is the display of FAT unhealthy bodies and they should start the process there.

    If he wants to save the environment, cattle industry should be completely stopped instead. Cycling may save 0.001% but cattle ban will save 70% pollution in the world.

  8. Kumari Says:

    Why get on the push bicycle now? Weren’t you one of the major Yahapalana Ministers to reduce Petrol & Diesel prices so that more people could use their motor cars? Hope Ranawaka has now realised that to become a leader you got to have a vision (not tunnel vision).

  9. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    For all of your information specifically two well known Hypocrites, Island editorial says
    Pedalling uphill
    June 8, 2015, 7:37 pm

    It took months for the new government to wise up to the fact that a substantial decrease in the price of a widely used commodity would invariably lead to an increase in the demand for it. That would have been known to anyone with a nodding acquaintance with rudimentary economics. Now, Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka is lamenting that fuel consumption has increased drastically due to petroleum price reductions.

    The Rajapaksa government savagely exploited the public by keeping the petroleum prices high in spite of an unprecedented slump in world oil prices. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief when the new government slashed the petroleum prices. But, the policymakers should have been able to foresee the adverse impact of that welcome relief measure on the economy and take steps to mitigate it.

    The government naively thought the fuel consumption would remain at the pre Jan. 08 level and the price reductions would help boost people’s savings. Nothing of the sort has happened as Minister Ranawaka tells us. The solution, however, is not to jack up fuel prices. Anyway, that is something the government won’t dare do with only weeks to go for a general election.

    Minister Ranawaka recently performed a publicity stunt apparently in a bid to encourage the public to cycle and help reduce fuel consumption and environmental pollution. He led a bicycle parade from Battaramulla to the BMICH.

    Not many people like to ride bicycle these days. During the April festive season the public road network becomes a massive velodrome with thousands of cyclists taking part in races. But, for the rest of the year only those with a death wish pedal on chaotic highways. Others in their proper senses do not brave ‘supersonic’ container carriers and the contraptions with drug addicts at the wheel—aka private buses. About six or seven persons are killed on Sri Lankan roads daily. Cycling is not worth dying for!

    VIPs can cycle without risking life and limb because roads are cleared for them by scores of traffic policemen who dance attendance on them. Ranawaka and others rode past the Borella cemetery on their way to the BMICH. But, if an ordinary cyclist had taken that route during the rush hour he would perhaps have ridden straight to the cemetery—never to return!

    If more and more people are to be encouraged to cycle it is imperative that necessary infrastructure be put in place like exclusive lanes and parking slots for cyclists.

    Sidewalks had gone walkabout, so to speak, in most parts of the country until a few years ago and the former government, to its credit, took steps to build them in urban areas, especially in and around Colombo. That project needs to be continued. If proper walkways are built preferably with trees providing shade people will take to Shanks’s pony to cover short distances.

    Above all, public transport has to be developed if fuel consumption is to be curtailed and congestion reduced significantly. Regrettably, plans to link the city and suburbs with a monorail system, develop the existing railroads, import more rolling stock and augment the SLTB fleet have not been properly implemented. Only some half-hearted attempts have been made all these years.

    Meanwhile, there is a growing, healthy trend towards using zero emission vehicles and generating solar energy. Some households are off the grid to all intents and purposes. This is something the government ought to promote by waiving taxes and providing soft loans.

    It is heartening to see politicians who usually move about in super luxury vehicles riding bicycles once in a way. But, needless to say there is much more to be done to tackle the problem of ballooning national fuel bill and air pollution.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    SOLAR is the future.

    SL should go SOLAR.

    I have a proposal for parliamentarians.

    Every new MP entering parliament should be weighed and the weight recorded. Then the change in 5 years should be measured and published. Those who cannot control their own weight DON’T have self control.

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