Air pollution is world’s biggest global environmental public health risk

The World Health Organization has termed AIR POLLUTION as the world’s largest single environmental health risk. They made declaration at the World Health Assembly in Geneva last week, after the Assembly debated this for long time.

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They've now adopted a resolution to address the health impacts of air pollution. Air pollution accounts for 8 million deaths worldwide.

China and India affected the most. Deaths due to air pollution (both outdoor and indoor pollution) have increased 4-fold over last decade.

KEY ROLE national health authorities need to play in raising awareness about potential to save lives and reduce health costs if air pollution is addressed correctly

In the latest studies from the WHO, results showed that exposure to air pollution leads to severe risk of heart disease (stroke, ischaemic, respiratory diseases). Fine particulate matter found in the air can cause lung cancer.

WHO has called to action all countries to:

  • Develop air quality monitoring systems
  • Health registries to improve surveillance for all air-pollution related illnesses
  • Promote clean cooking, heating and lighting technologies and fuels
  • Strengthen international transfer of expertise, technologies and scientific data in field of air pollution

Delhi is the most polluted among 1600 cities in the world, surpassing Beijing. WHO Report shows Delhi has 10x higher air pollution that acceptable standards. At next assembly, WHO will present a roadmap for enhanced global response by health sector that reduces adverse health effects of air pollution.

Experts say policies and investments supporting cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing, power generation and industry and better municipal waste management reduce key sources of urban outdoor air pollution.