Nine out of 10 people in the world are breathing poor quality air, a new report by the World Health Organisation said calling on countries to take action against air pollution which is causing over six million deaths a year globally .With the use of new interactive maps, the UN agency found 92% of the world’s population living in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.
India accounts for 75% of the 8 lakh air-pollution related deaths annually in the South East Asia Region, whereas 90% of the world’s casualties from poor air quality are in low-and middle-income countries, the maps show identifying specific areas where pollution levels are extremely high.
“Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough,” said Maria Neira, the head of the WHO’s department of public health and environment. Asking countries to strengthen measures to control air pollution, Neira said, “Solutions exist with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cook-stoves, as well as renewable energies and industrial emissions reductions.”
The UN agency’s report said 94% of the pollution-related deaths in lowand middle-income countries are due to non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructi ve pulmonary disease, lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.
Over 6 lakh people die in In dia every year of ailments caused from air pollution such as acute lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, ischemic heart disease and lung cancer.
The report represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country , ever reported by WHO. The model is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath in UK.
According to the report, the problem of air pollution is most acute in cities, but air in rural areas is worse than many think and poorer countries have much dirtier air than the developed world, it said.