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WHO: 99% of global population breathe polluted air




THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has said people in almost every corner of the world still breathe polluted air that exceeds recommended limits.

The global health body disclosed this in a recent report on air quality for over 6000 human settlements in more than 100 countries.

To address the problem, the WHO called on governments to reduce the use of fossil fuel and speed up transition to cleaner sources of energy.

The report noted that the challenge poses risks to the health and well-being of people, especially those in low and middle-income countries.

Parts of the report said, “Almost the entire global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, and threatens their health.

“A record number of over 6000 cities in 117 countries are now monitoring air quality, but the people living in them are still breathing unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, with people in low and middle-income countries suffering the highest exposures.

“The findings have prompted the World Health Organization to highlight the importance of curbing fossil fuel use and taking other tangible steps to reduce air pollution levels.”

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The report also provides ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common urban pollutant, which is associated with respiratory diseases, particularly asthma.

It highlights the increasing damage that air pollution does to the human body and points out significant harms caused by even low levels of many air pollutants.

The Director-General of the Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the need to speed up the transition to cleaner, healthier energy sources.

“High fossil fuel prices, energy security, and the urgency of addressing the twin health challenges of air pollution and climate change, underscore the pressing need to move faster towards a world that is much less dependent on fossil fuels.”

He also urged the governments to monitor air quality, identify sources of air pollution, adopt or revise and implement national air quality standards according to the latest WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

Governments were also urged to support transition to the use of cleaner means of energy and take other tangible steps to reduce air pollution levels.

Author profile

Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice and good governance. You can shoot him an email via nyahaya@icirnigeria.org and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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