EU air quality slowly improving but still deadly

30 October, 2018, 04:28 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking at a press conference in 2017

Its report said pollution levels were slowly improving in European Union countries but remained far higher than European Union and World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

That's according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which found around 1.8 billion children are exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above its air quality guidelines.

Among the World Health Organization report other findings are data indicating that pregnant women are more likely to give birth prematurely when they are exposed to dirty air. Such policies would not only help people with asthma and other respiratory diseases, but it would help everyone breathe a little easier, they said.

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC), which represents key medical bodies and includes the BMJ, the British Medical Association, and the Royal College of Nursing, has reportedly asked the government to introduce a new clean air act. In the morning, air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 348, considered very poor category, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Air pollution is especially unsafe for children, and accounts for almost one in 10 deaths among children under five around the globe, the report found.

Air pollution can also cause childhood cancers, asthma, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection, the report said.

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The PM2.5 (or particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres present in the air) can be a matter of more serious health concern than PM10 (those with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres).

The study found that New Delhi's average air pollution level (PM2.5 score) was a staggering 187, which is far from London's rush hour measure of 27, and Birmingham's rush-hour measure of just 15.

More than two million deaths occur in India prematurely every year, accounting for 25 per cent of the global deaths due to poor air quality. "But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of unsafe pollutants", Maria Neira, Director with the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO, said.

"Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. He said that 90 percent of the world population suffers from toxic air and it affects children worse than adults. The researchers, including those from the University of Colorado Boulder and NASA in the U.S., said one way to reduce pollutants quickly would be to target emissions from cars, especially in big cities.

The EEA study also revealed that the highest concentrations of PM2.5 are in northern Italy, Poland, the Balkans and Turkey.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari Monday asked the party-ruled municipal corporations to step in to tackle the rising air pollution in the city as the AAP government has "failed" to take effective measures.

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