Reports from the Health Effects Institute show that more than 95% of the population around the world breathe polluted air. The largest cities in the world’s developed countries also expose billions of people to polluted air. Rural life isn’t safe either, because solid fuels are burned indoors, causing indoor pollution.
The new findings from the Health Effects Institute used satellite data and monitoring to have an approximate of people exposed to pollution. The results showed that pollution is high above the limit deemed safe by the World Health Organisation.
Pollution is now the fourth highest cause of deaths worldwide, at the top being high blood pressure, diet and smoking. Not to mention that it’s also a threat to the environment.
Pollution Caused the Death of 6 Million People Last Year
China and India are accounted for over more than a half of the global death toll of the last year. In 2017, 6 million people died of exposure to pollution. It also increased the chances of death by raising the risks of stroke, heart attack, and lung cancer.
The vice-president of the Health Effects Institute, Bob O’Keefe stated that there is a great gap between the most polluted places on Earth and the least polluted ones. Some of the developed countries have started ‘cleaning up’, while many haven’t done so, as they were looking to increase economic growth.
Bob O’Keefe said that: “Air pollution control systems still lag behind economic development.” However, he also admits that:
“There are reasons for optimism, though there is a long way to go. China seems to be now moving pretty aggressively, for instance in cutting coal and on stronger controls. India has really begun to step up on indoor air pollution, for instance through the provision of LPG as a cooking fuel, and through electrification.”
There is also an important issue with road traffic increasing. In developed countries, air pollution is also caused by emissions from vehicles, and in poor countries, the engines are so bad that they cause a lot of pollution too, even if there are less vehicles on the streets.
Over the years, governments have been dealing with this problem, and social media also helped people knowing about pollution and its worrisome effects on our lives:
“People now have the ability to worry about not just the food they eat and a roof over the head, but they have the means to discuss [issues] in public,” said O’Keefe.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere