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Asia Pacific Region Officials Agree to Curb Aviation Pollution

Governments in the Asia-Pacific region have now agreed to curb airline pollution through a range of measures such as reducing the number of planes circling// airports as they wait to land.

Only a couple of days ago Australia had announced that it was introducing traffic control changes at its airports to enhance aviation fuel efficiency. Flights would be appropriately rescheduled so that pilots wont have to hover over the ground for long. At such times jet engines burn five-times more fuel, authorities said. Now transport officials from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum _ have agreed to follow suit and hopefully slash millions of tons of carbon emissions. ''The commitment from the APEC economies is a major step forward in adopting a global approach to climate change,'' said Australian Transport Minister Mark Vaile, who chaired the meeting.

Reducing the number of planes in stacks of holding patterns over Sydney alone would cut more than nine metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each day, he added.

Millions of tonnes of flowers, fruit and fish are flown around the world every day and farmers and consumers could be on a high.

But an Australian critic had warned, 'The very thing that brought the world to our doorstep could be killing us. Aviation is the world's most polluting form of travel.' Terry Leahy, the chief executive of the British supermarket chain Tesco, said recently that he wanted to devise a system of labelling that would enable shoppers to 'compare a product's carbon footprint just as easily as they can currently compare its price or nutritional value'.

Climate change pollution generated by aviation is growing faster than that from any other sector, it is felt. For there is now a plethora of discount airlines and relentless construction of airports in regional cities around the world.

Complex chemical reactions occur when aviation fuel is burnt at high altitudes. Con sequently aircraft emissions become nearly three times as damaging to the atmosphere as the carbon dioxide from ground transport, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says.

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