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More than 90% of world's population breathes poor quality air: WHO

Nearly 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO?s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, the report says.? Photograph: (AFP)

Washington, DC, United States Sep 27, 2016, 06.42 AM (IST)

Ninety-two per cent of the world's population breathes poor quality air, the World Health Organization confirmed today, adding that about three million deaths a year around the world are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution.

 

The indoor pollution is just as deadly, the UN's health body highlights. 

 

"The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it," Dr Flavia Bustreo, assistant director general at WHO asserted. 

 

According to the report, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6 per cent of all global deaths) in 2012 were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together. 

 

The report "is enough to make all of us extremely concerned," Maria Neira, the head of the WHO's department of public health and environment, has been quoted as saying by AFP. The data has been collected from more than 3,000 sites across the globe, according to the international news agency. 

 

In a statement, Neira has also highlighted the report findings that "poorer countries have much dirtier air than the developed world, but pollution "affects practically all countries in the world and all parts of society".  

 

Nearly 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, the report says. 

 

It's pertinent to mention that in September 2015, world leaders had set a target within the Sustainable Development Goals of substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from air pollution by 2030.

 

"Fast action to tackle air pollution can’t come soon enough," adds Dr Neira. 

 

"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."

 

Who had also approved a new "road map" for accelerated action on air pollution and its causes in 2016 that calls upon the health sector to increase monitoring of air pollution locally, assess the health impacts, and to assume a greater leadership role in national policies that affect air pollution.

 

(WION with inputs from agencies) 

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