Air Pollution Primary Reason For Premature Deaths, Biggest Threat To Human Life: WHO

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'Air Pollution Primary Reason For Premature Deaths, Biggest Threat To Human Life': WHO

What is more worrisome is that it kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. Annual exposure is can cause 7 million premature deaths; about 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds the guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, the agency’s report read.

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Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human life, apart from climate change, the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday, September 22. The agency released its new air quality guidelines (AQGs) ever since 2005.

What is more worrisome is that it kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. Annual exposure can cause 7 million premature deaths; about 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds the guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants, the agency's report read.

The primary sufferers, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures. WHO is supporting countries to address air pollution. The new guidelines highlight the adverse effects of pollution on human health and have stated evidence of the damage caused, reported Business Standard.

Guidelines

Countries must strictly maintain the recommended air quality levels by reducing the levels of key air pollutants.

According to the media report, the air levels mentioned for six pollutants are - particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10, ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). PM is generated by fuel combustion, mainly in transport, energy, households, industries, etc.

The PM 10 must not exceed 15 g/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) annual mean or 45 g/m3 24-hour mean. Earlier, the limit was 20 g/m3 annual mean or 50 g/m3 24-hour mean.

It stressed that adhering to these guidelines could save millions of lives.

The guidelines are based on factual reports and are used as a practical tool for improving air quality. "I urge all countries and all those fighting to protect our environment from putting them to use to reduce suffering and save lives," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying.

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