Air Clean Up
Air pollution health impact worse than previously thought
Apr 11 2013
The dangers of air pollution could be worse than was previously thought, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
According to WHO, air pollution is actually one of the “greatest hazards to human health”.
This stark warning came at the latest meeting of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), which took place in Paris, France on April 6th and 7th.
It comes as the organisation pushed further with its call for immediate worldwide action on air pollution.
Speaking at the meeting, WHO director of public health and environment Dr Maria Neira, commented: “The estimations we have now tell us there are 3.5 million premature deaths every year caused by household air pollution, and 3.3 million deaths every year caused by outdoor air pollution.
“Air pollution is becoming one of the biggest health issues we have in front of us at the moment,”
WHO warned that an additional 200,000 people die every year due to ground-level ozone pollution. Furthermore, indoor air pollution has become the leading risk factor in South Asia when it comes to ‘burden of disease’, it said. Furthermore, it came second in Eastern, Central and Western Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as third in Southeast Asia.
This burden of disease is calculated based on the years of life lost combined with years lived in sickness.
At the meeting, UNEP called for fast-action on short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), as these are major culprits when it comes to damage to health, as well as the cause of crop loss and climate change.
Tackling SLCPs could “dramatically” cut the number of annual air pollution deaths, according to UNEP.
SLCPs are released through a number of sources, including diesel engine exhaust, smoke and soot from inefficient cooking stoves, natural gas production and leaking and flaring from oil.
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