As Earth’s battle with climate change and global warming continues, we learn that air pollution kills 7 million people each year, as per a new report released by the WHO.
Air pollution is currently damaging our health similar to unhealthy eating and smoking, and urgent action is needed to lower exposure.
Here is what you need to know.
Air Pollution Threatens Our Lives
The World Health Organization recently decided to strengthen the air quality guidelines after air pollution has become one of the greatest environmental threats to human health. Also, the WHO has changed many air quality guideline levels downwards and released a full report.
Urgent action is needed
Air pollution needs to be reduced, and the WHO is warning that exceeding the new levels is linked to significant risks to health. Only accepting and adhering to the new guidelines could save millions of lives worldwide.
The last air quality guidelines were released by the UN back in 2015. Since then, the WHO stated that researchers have come across more evidence that air pollution affects health at lower levels than previously thought.
The WHO explains:
“The accumulated evidence is sufficient to justify actions to reduce population exposure to key air pollutants, not only in particular countries or regions but on a global scale.”
New guidelines insights and the COP26 report
The WHO’s newly released guidelines have been released just in time for the COP25 global climate summit from October 31 – November 12 in Glasgow.
Here’s what the new guidelines recommend to lower the air quality levels for up to 6 pollutants, including:
- carbon monoxide
- sulphur dioxide
- nitrogen dioxide
PM10 and PM2.5 are extremely dangerous because they can end up deep into our lungs. PM2.5 can even reach the bloodstream, causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Back in 2019, over 90 % of the world’s population lived in regions where the PM2.5 levels were very high, as per previous data.