WHO Report Confirms Devastating Effects of Air Pollution on Health
92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits, according to a WHO report released last month. The report provides country-specific estimates on exposure, the detrimental impacts on health, and the major contributing sources of air pollution. The air quality model illustrates the importance of monitoring air pollution as the first step to effectively addressing indoor and outdoor air pollution.
“Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough,” adds Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cook-stoves.”
The report represents the most detailed outdoor air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO, and highlights the growing risk of air pollution for the majority of the world. Air pollution causes an estimated 7 million premature deaths each year, 4.3 million of which are attributable to household air pollution.
Close to 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, and one of the major sources of air pollution in these regions are inefficient household fuels used for cooking and heating.