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Global population breathing polluted air – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday, that 99 percent of people on Earth breathe air containing too many pollutants.

Fresh data from the UN health agency showed that every corner of the globe is dealing with air pollution, although the problem is much worse in poorer countries.

“Almost 100 percent of the global population is still breathing air that exceeds the standards recommended by the World Health Organization,” the agency’s environment, climate change and health director Maria Neira told reporters.

“This is a major public health issue.”

In its previous report four years ago, WHO had already found that over 90 percent of the global population was affected, but it has since tightened its limits, it said.

While UN data last year indicated that pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions caused short-lived improvements in air quality, WHO said air pollution remains a towering problem.

“After surviving a pandemic, it is unacceptable to still have seven million preventable deaths and countless preventable lost years of good health due to air pollution,” Neira said.

WHO’s study provides air quality data from more than 6,000 cities and other settlements across 117 countries — representing around 80 percent of urban settings.

In addition, Neira said WHO used satellite data and mathematical models to determine that air quality is falling short basically everywhere.


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