This Monday was the first update of its air-pollution data since 2018, by UN bodies that advise governments about global public health problems. According to the new information, 99% of the world’s population breathes air that falls short of its standard for quality.
Last year, the WHO revised the standard for air pollution to stress the urgent need for greater government action. The WHO released a Monday press release describing the updates. “the evidence… points to significant harm caused by even low levels of many air pollutants”It is “growing rapidly.”An estimated seven million deaths are reported each year by the group. “exposure to ambient and household air pollution.”
This new database also includes data from 2,000 additional cities that monitor air quality. Participating cities include more than 6,000 in 117 countries.
WHO noted that 1500 cities have been added to its list. They are located in developing and low income countries. The WHO says these countries remain poorly monitored and worsened by air-quality issues. So an apparent rise in the portion of the world’s population breathing poor-quality air is to be expected.
The WHO also recommends that we reduce our exposure to air pollutants. “speeding up the transition to healthier energy systems,”To accelerate the transition “towards a world that is much less dependent on fossil fuels.”This also suggests “safe affordable public transport systems” and “stricter vehicle emissions and efficiency standards.”
UN member countries have tried to follow WHO’s advice to improve the air quality of their cities in varying degrees. France decided to delay a ban on private motor cars in Paris, which was planned for 2024. France had in the past delayed a ban on diesel-powered and gas-powered automobiles manufactured prior to 2006 and 2011. It plans to implement this ban next year.
Meanwhile, China recorded Beijing’s average concentration of hazardous airborne PM 2.5 particles to be just 5 micrograms per cubic meter during its lunar New Year celebration in January, down from 289 micrograms per cubic meter during last year’s celebration. Officials in China achieved this dramatic decline through the implementation of an entire ban on all fireworks within their city.
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