Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The World Health Organization blamed poor air quality for some seven million deaths annually as data indicates that more than 90 percent of the global population is breathing high levels of pollutants.
Data released by the UN health body showed that every corner of the globe is dealing with air pollution, although the problem is far worse in poorer countries.
The study which examined health-hazardous levels of both outdoor and household air pollution, found that “around seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air” and that more than 90 percent of deaths linked to air pollution occur in low or middle income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa.
The data focused on dangerous particulate matter with a diameter of between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (PM10), and particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). PM2.5 includes toxins like sulfate and black carbon which pose the greatest health risks since they can penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system and cause diseases like strokes, heart disease, lung cancer and pneumonia.
Particularly worrying to the WHO is that more than 40 percent of the global population still does not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies in their homes. The use of dirty cooking fuel, like burning charcoal, is a major source of household air pollution that is estimated to cause some 3.8 million premature deaths each year.
The report said access to clean fuels is increasing in every region but it warned that “improvements are not even keeping pace with population growth in many parts of the world.”
Reducing air pollution will require the cooperation of everyone, from all levels of society. Everyone, from factory owners, car manufacturers, owners, and household heads must be made aware of the dangers of the air pollution we generate as we go about our daily lives that is often inhaled by our own family members because we all need to pitch in and put more effort into reducing the household air pollution that affects the health of so many people all over the globe.*