Air pollution is a widespread phenomenon around the world, and the World Health Organization (WHO) accounts for it. According to recent reports from the organization, nine out of ten people breathe in polluted air. Health experts warn about the health complications brought by living in an area with high levels of air pollution.
Earlier this week, WHO made public an interactive map which shows the levels of air pollution across the Globe. The graphic suggests that more than ninety percent of the Earth’s population lives in areas highly affected by the phenomenon. This means that the same number of people is exposed to health complications such as lung diseases, heart conditions, and even brain complications.
The World Health Organization also provides us with information on the harmful effects of air pollution. It seems like every year, approximately three million deaths might be caused by the poor quality of breathable air. The results come as no surprise for specialists, who have been warning people of the situation for at least six years.
Reports dating from 2008 also showed that air pollution is on the rise in the big cities of the world. However, if compared to the current reports, researchers can observe an increase of eight percent. What surprises scientists the most is that action has been taken in order to reduce pollution in big cities, but the results show that the efforts have been in vain.
Scientists from WHO base their study on measurements made in more than one hundred countries around the world. Over three thousand sites have been investigated, thanks to satellite-based technology. Researchers collected data for seven years, from 2008 to 2015.
The researchers’ study points out that the main pollutant in the air is PM (particulate matter). It is actually a complex of matters such as smoke, dust, and pollen, among others. There are several types pf PM, and specialists state that the most harmful for humans is PM2.5.
Health experts from WHO explain that the ideal amount of PM2.5 in the air should be ten micrograms per cubic meter. Nevertheless, the interactive map shows that more than ninety percent of the world’s inhabited regions display higher levels of air pollution.
Researchers intend to draw city authorities’ attention about the situation. One of the suggested solutions is reducing the number of cars in the cities, and replacing them by other means of transportation, which shouldn’t harm the environment so much. What solution do you suggest for your city?
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