Over 95 Percent Of The World Is Breathing Unsafe Air

Maricruz Casares
Abril 18, 2018

"Exposure to "household air pollution" also has a substantial impact on health and is ranked 8th in risk factors for early death, with 2.6 million attributable deaths in 2016", according to the report.

Seven billion people, over 95 percent of the world's population, are breathing air that contains unhealthy levels of pollution, while 60 percent of the world is living in areas that don't even meet the most basic standards of air quality.

The report, known as the State of Global Air and produced by the Health Effects Institute, analyzed satellite data and other air-quality monitors to figure out what percentage of the world is exposed to air polluted above levels that the World Health Organization deems as safe.

However, while the figures for air pollution are high, the study has found that the number of deaths attributed to unsafe air has significantly decreased globally since the 1990s.

Household air pollution and ambient particular matter-a component of outdoor pollution-were listed individually among the top ten risk factors, and were tied to a combined 6.7 million deaths in 2016, the a year ago studied.

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The report also named air pollution as the fourth highest cause of death among all health risks globally, coming in below high blood pressure, diet and smoking. Indoor air pollution can also affect air quality in the surrounding area, with this effect contributing to one in four pollution deaths in India and almost one in five in China. While developed countries have made moves to clean up, many developing countries have fallen further behind while seeking economic growth.

Vice president of the institute, Bob O'Keefe, said the gap between the most polluted air on the planet and the least polluted was striking. O'Keefe said China "seems to be now moving aggressively", as they put stronger controls in place and work to cut coal. "India has really begun to step up on indoor air pollution, for instance through the provision of LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] as a cooking fuel, and through electrification". In 2016, a total of 2.5 billion people - one in three of global citizens - were exposed to air pollution from solid fuels such as wood or charcoal.

Emissions from transport are a growing concern, however, as road traffic increases.

"Social media has been very important, as a growing number of people have access to it and to data and discussions [on air pollution]", he adds.

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