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Study: 92% of the world’s population are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution

92 percent of the population of Earth are exposed to unsafe levels of pollution over Earth. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Air pollution is quite common and affecting wide region of people worldwide. Newer WHO air quality model is confirming that 92% of the world’s population are living in places where air quality levels are exceeding the WHO limits. According to that about 3 million deaths are linked with the exposure of the outdoor air pollution.

Even indoor air pollution can be equally deadly. During 2012, an estimated of 6.5 million deaths were associated with the indoor and outdoor air pollution together. Newer model represented by WHO is providing a baseline for further monitoring process and combating the same.

This WHO heat map shows the highest (red) and lowest (green) levels of air pollution worldwide. (Image Courtesy: Google)
This WHO heat map shows the highest (red) and lowest (green) levels of air pollution worldwide. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Pollution effect: WHO

  • It is even representing the most detailed outdoor air pollution data by country being ever reported by WHO. Model of the same is based upon the data which is retrieved from satellite measurements, air transport models and even underground station monitors for more than 3,000 locations. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the air pollution related deaths are occurring in lower and middle income countries. It is normally occurring 2 out of 3 while occurring in WHO’s South-East-Asia and Western Pacific regions. About 94 percent are due to the non-communicable diseases. Among them includes cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and even lung cancer.
  • Air pollution is also increasing the risks of acute respiratory infections. Dr. Bustreo further adding to the same says, “Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations women, children and the older adults. For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.”
  • Major sources of the air pollution includes inefficient modes of transportation, household fuel and waste burning, coal fired power plants and industrial activities. Yet not all of the air pollution are related to human activities. Air quality can also be influenced by means of dust storms, particularly in regions which are closer to deserts.

Source: Sequence Media Group

Detailed calibrated data

Model is having carefully calibrated data from satellite and ground stations for maximising reliability. National air pollution exposures were analysed against the pollution.

Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health further adding to the same says, “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. 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.”

Interactive maps are providing information on population weighted exposure to the particulate matter over an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers for all countries. Map for the same is also indicating data over monitoring stations for PM10 and PM2.5 values for about 3,000 cities and towns.

World’s population living in inferior air quality levels

Further adding Dr. Neira says, “Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough. Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cookstoves, as well as renewable energies and industrial emissions reductions.”

WHO air quality model is confirming that 92 percent of the world’s population which is living in places where air quality levels is exceeding “WHO’s Ambient Air Quality guidelines” for annual mean of particulate matter. It is having diameter less than 2.5 micrometers. WHO guidelines is limiting the annual mean of PM2.5 are 10 μg/m3 annual mean.

PM2.5  is including pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon. It is penetrating deep into the lungs and into the cardiovascular system while posing the greatest risk to the human health.

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