Air Pollution Kills Seven Million People Annually – WHO

By Apata Oyeniran

The result of a study released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday has revealed that poor air quality causes some seven million deaths annually, further revealing that more than 90 percent of the global population is breathing-in high levels of pollutants.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, stated this in a statement saying, “Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalised people bear the brunt of the burden”.

If action is not taken, the WHO estimates that Africa’s urban air pollution levels could quadruple in 15 years. Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images
If action is not taken, the WHO estimates that Africa’s urban air pollution levels could quadruple in 15 years.
Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

Fresh data from the UN health body showed that every corner of the globe is dealing with air pollution, although the problem is far worse in poorer countries.

WHO’s study, which examined health-hazardous levels of both outdoor and household air pollution, found that “around seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in the polluted air.”

More than 90 percent of deaths linked to air pollution occur in low or middle-income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.

“This is a very dramatic problem that we are facing,” Maria Neira, the head of WHO’s department of public health and environment, told reporters in a conference call.

“Dangerous particulate matter can cause diseases like stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections such as pneumonia,” WHO said.

Particularly worrying, the agency added, was that more than 40 percent of the global population still does not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes.

The use of dirty cooking fuel like burning charcoal is a major source of household air pollution, which is estimated to cause some 3.8 million premature deaths each year.

However, the report observed that access to clean fuels was increasing in every region, but warned that, “improvements are not even keeping pace with population growth in many parts of the world,” pointing, especially to sub-Saharan Africa.

Outdoor air pollution was meanwhile linked to 4.2 million fatalities annually.

Speaking on the issue, especially the inherent dangers of air pollution at the Olusosun dump site in Lagos, the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that the university, as part of its research efforts, will investigate the site and make its findings known to the Lagos State Government on the suitability of the area for recreational purpose.

Source: independent.ng

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