Seven Million People Die Annually From Polluted Air – WHO.
A new data from WHO shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.
According to a press statement issued by the health organisation on Wednesday, at least seven million people die every year from inhaled ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said air pollution threatens everyone, but the poorest and most marginalised people bear the brunt of the burden.“It is unacceptable that over 3 billion people, mostly women and children are still breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes.“If we don’t take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development,” he said.
According to WHO, the polluted air particles penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. It also causes respiratory infections, including pneumonia.Data from the health organisation also shows that ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016.Meanwhile, household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths in the same period.
More than 90 per cent of air pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.
This is followed by low and middle-income countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, Europe and America.
It also noted that about 3 billion people, which is more than 40 per cent of the world’s population still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes.
Cooking fuel are the main source of household air pollution.
WHO has been monitoring household air pollution for more than a decade.
“While the rate of access to clean fuels and technologies is increasing everywhere, improvements are not even keeping pace with population growth in many parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” it said.
WHO recognizes that air pollution is a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated one-quarter (24 per cent) of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25 per cent from stroke, 43 per cent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29 per cent from lung cancer.
More than 4300 cities in 108 countries are now included in WHO’s ambient air quality database, making this the world’s most comprehensive database on ambient air pollution.
WHO said since 2016, more than 1000 additional cities have been added to WHO’s database which shows that more countries are measuring and taking action to reduce air pollution than ever before.
Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health at WHO, said many of the world’s mega cities exceed WHO’s guideline levels for air quality by more than per cent times, representing a major risk to people’s health.
Source : IWN Online Editor
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