WHO's latest report says that 9 out of 10 people globally are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
Air pollution is getting worse across much of the globe. According to World Health Organization's (WHO) latest report, more than 90 percent of the world's population is affected by air pollution and if air pollution is not kept in check, it will wreck havoc on human health.
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Cities are hit hardest by the air pollution. New data shows that urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate but people may be surprised to find that air quality in rural area is not too good either while the problem of air in poorer countries is worse than developed world.
Six million people die each year because of the excessive exposure to outdoor air pollution and more than 90% of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries. The numbers are expected to increase in coming years. Air pollution is also fueling in noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, lung cancer and other diseases driven by poor air quality. Increase in vehicles, household fuel, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities are major contributors to the air pollution.
“Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations – women, children and the older adults,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHOs. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.”
The report involved more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban across the globe while the data was derived by measuring air quality through satellites, air transport models and ground station monitors. The focus was on the quantity of dangerous solid particulates floating in the air and it showed that 9 out of 10 people globally live in areas where air quality level exceeds WHO recommendations.
"This new model is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden of more than 6 million deaths – 1 in 9 of total global deaths – from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution," said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director. "More and more cities are monitoring air pollution now, satellite data is more comprehensive, and we are getting better at refining the related health estimates.”
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The latest WHO data shows how severe the problem of air pollution is and how badly we need an action plan to deal with it.