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WHO: Over 90% of Global Population is Breathing Dirty Air

Sep 28, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
Air pollution
World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 92 percent of people in the entire planet is inhaling poor quality air.
(Photo : VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Think you're breathing fresh air? Most likely not. World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 92 percent of people in the entire planet is inhaling poor quality air. The effects of air pollution on human health can be disastrous.

According to a report from TIME, the research by WHO studied the amount of pollution in 3000 cities and towns all over the world. All the regions that were tracked recorded unsafe air pollution - a sobering thought. Africa, Asia and the Middle East logged in the worst pollution.

High-income countries generally have less air pollution, but that doesn't mean all of these areas are safe from dirty air. Roughly 15 percent of high-income cities in the U.S. including Los Angeles and Manhattan are below WHO standards of clean air, and an even bigger margin of 60 percent high-income cities in Europe.

Maria Neira, the head of the WHO's department of public health and environment, said that the findings from the study made everyone "extremely concerned", a report from Phys Org revealed.

"It is a public health emergency," she stated, after saying that pollution is a problem all over the world, even if poorer countries are currently faring better than their more developed counterparts. Some of the solutions Neira suggested are decreasing the number of cars on the road, improving waste management and promoting clean cooking fuel.

After all, air pollution has a direct effect on people - and these effects can be very disastrous. The WHO study focused on dangerous particulate matter that has a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres or PM2.5, which includes toxins like sulfate and black carbon that can be breathed into the lungs and cardiovascular system.

"Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations - women, children and the older adults," Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general, said in a statement in TIME. "For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last."

Read More:
Warning! Air Pollution Could Lead to Diabetes
Careless Consumption: Developed Countries Responsible for Worsening Pollution in East Asia
Success! London's Air Pollution Levels are Dropping, Thanks to Smart Policies

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