Air Pollution Is Killing Millions

air pollutionIn a time, when science and technology rapidly evolve, air pollution is still a major problem, because it is killing millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) latest report shows that air pollution has caused the death of seven million people in 2012. According to the numbers, the air pollution causes one of the eight deaths in the world. People are dying due to the pollution outdoors as well as from polluted air indoors.

Outside pollution can be attributed to a wide range of causes, from the exhaust gas to coal-burning. Among the reasons for internal pollution, WHO most frequently mentions cooking on the stove that burn coal, wood and biomass. Due to the internal pollution, 4.3 million people have died in 2012 and 3.7 million people have died due to the outdoor pollution in that same year. The sum exceeds the estimate of seven million deaths, as some people have died due to a combination of both pollutions.

“Air pollution is a serious problem both in China as well as in many other countries in the region. Effective solutions should be a top priority of local authorities. This is important, not only for human health, but also for economic reasons. I have talked with people from abroad, who wanted to invest there, to start a business, but changed their minds because of air pollution, “points out Margaret Chan, Director General of the WHO.

The air is the most polluted in Southeast Asia, particularly in India and Indonesia and in an area that includes West of Pacific Ocean-from China and South Korea to Japan and the Philippines, reports WHO. Only in these two areas, air pollution killed 5.9 million people in 2012. Among the causes of death are mostly cardiovascular diseases, strokes, respiratory diseases and lung cancer.

The results of the analysis indicate that the number of deaths due to air pollution has doubled and that this type of pollution is the most important environmental risk factor for premature death. In addition, new data point to a strong link between exposure to internal and external air pollution and increased risk, that we will be suffering from cardiovascular disease or cancer, which supplements the already known association between air pollution, diseases of the lungs and respiratory tract.

Prior to data from 2012, the WHO last published such data for the year 2008, when the outdoor air pollution attributed to 1.3 million deaths and the pollution of indoor air to 1.9 million deaths. Although, data cannot be compared, because the methods of measurement during this time have changed, adds the WHO.” Only a few risks have a greater impact on global health than air pollution. It is necessary to establish concrete measures to purify the air we breathe,” said Maria Neira from WHO.

According to a new report State of the air 2014 from an American Lung Association, more than half of Americans breathe in an unhealthy air. Many of the smoggiest cities are in California, with Los Angeles at the top of the list. The Fresno-Madera area in California is also near the top, due to high concentration of tiny liquid and solid particles, which can get deep into the lungs and cause irritation and illness.

Although efforts have been made to reduce the adverse health effects, there is still a discrepancy in the understanding and the knowledge of stakeholders about the impact of air pollution on health. From year to year, air pollution is killing millions of people worldwide. By reducing air pollution, billions could be saved annually at the expense of medical care, medication and sick leave. Quality of life and general well-being would increase and mortality due to air pollution would be significantly reduced.

By Janette Verdnik

ABC News

One Response to "Air Pollution Is Killing Millions"

  1. Nick Tedesco   May 8, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for this article Janette. It’s time we focus more on air pollution. Somehow climate change is still controversial, however there is no confusion about air pollution.

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