CLIMATE CHANGE (Times Of Ocean)- World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that 13 million people die every year from environmental causes, including about 7 million deaths due to air pollution.
The WHO has released new data that indicates that practically everyone is breathing in unhealthy air. To reduce air pollution, the WHO calls for immediate action on curbing fossil fuel use. They say that this poses a threat to the health of billions of people, resulting in millions of preventable deaths.
Sophie Gumy is a technical officer in the department of environment, climate change, and health at WHO. According to her, the air quality is most poor in the eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
“Most of the seven million deaths, they come from low and middle-income countries, indeed they do,” Gumy said. “That does not mean that the high-income countries are not impacted. You know we are using mortality to calculate the impact of air pollution on health. However, we are very much aware that you should actually count for morbidity — all the disease that it creates…There are a lot of costs associated with air pollution, which are not necessarily captured in the deaths.”
Even low levels of many air pollutants can cause significant harm, according to the WHO report. According to the article, particulate matter can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream. This can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and respiratory issues. According to the article, nitrogen oxide or NO2 can cause asthma.
According to Maria Neira, director of WHO’s department of environment, climate change and health, particulate matter can affect almost every organ of the body. She describes this as a major health issue, one that overlaps with climate change. Consequently, she says the causes of air pollution need to be addressed in the same way.
“We must transition to clean, modern, sustainable sources of energy,” Neira said. I think we will all agree that our reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation must change in order to protect our health.
As a part of its strategy, WHO recommends implementing stricter vehicle emissions standards, investing in energy-efficient housing and energy generation, and improving waste management in the industry and in municipalities.