The new data, released by the WHO on Tuesday, confirms that 92 percent of the world’s population is living in areas where air quality levels surpass the official limits set by the organization.
The research, which includes an interactive map and a detailed list of deaths related to pollution, shows “air pollution danger spots” in each country, and “provides a baseline for monitoring progress and combatting it,” Dr. Flavia Bustrea, assistant director general at the WHO, said in a statement.
A total of 6.5 million people died from air pollution-related deaths – both indoor and outdoor – in 2012, representing more than 11 percent of all deaths. Of those, three million were “solely attributable” to outdoor air quality.
China – long known for its contaminated air – far surpassed other countries, with 1,032,833 outdoor air pollution related deaths in 2012.
Overall, 94 percent of the overall deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. The organization noted that air pollution “also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.”
Nearly 90 percent of the deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, with two out of three occurring in Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions.
“Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations – women, children and the older adults,”Bustreo said. “For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.” read more…