Air pollution: the silent killer

Highlights

  • Every year about 7 million people die prematurely due to exposure to air pollution.
  • To curb the drastic effects of air pollution, WHO has set certain Air Quality Guidelines. These are goals set to reduce air pollution.
  • Young children and older people are in maximum danger because of toxic air.

The air we breathe affects our bodies for years in continuity. As we slip deeper into industrialisation and other advancements, the quality of air keeps deteriorating. Someone would ask why is that so? - Because industrialists and governments seldom align with sustainability goals while framing their profit-making ventures.

Air pollution is the silent killer: a report by WHO

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a heart-wrenching report in which it was showcased that every year about 7 million people die prematurely due to exposure to air pollution. And millions of people lose their lives because of bad air quality.

According to the regional estimates of WHO’s regional groupings, more than 2 million people in South-East Asia, more than 1 million in the Africa region, more than 500000 in the Eastern Mediterranean region, more than 300000 in the regions of America and so on suffer due to bad air quality.

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The global challenge of tackling sources of air pollution

The world needs to be more aware of scrutinising sources of air pollution. The air we breathe in is what our bodies are composed of. And, unfortunately, the air we are surrounded by is no less than poison.

Tackling sources of air pollution has become a global challenge now. The primary sources for air pollution are industry and energy supply, dust, transport, waste management, agriculture practices, household energy, etc.

Air Quality Guidelines by WHO.

To curb the drastic effects of air pollution, WHO has set certain Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs). These are goals set to reduce air pollution.

According to WHO, the optimum air quality index can be achieved in the following ways:

  • First, countries should set interim targets to improve air quality continuously.
  • WHO is recommending AQG levels to protect people from air pollution.
  • Although the current air quality indexes are skyrocketing, governments and industrialists need to be mindful of the targets and adhere to the air quality guidelines outlined by the WHO.

Deforestation & environmental pollution

Image credits: © Hanhanpeggy | Megapixl.com

The interconnectedness between climate change, air pollution & health

It is no more a question, how climate change is affecting life on Earth. The mental, emotional, biological, and social well-being of people is highly affected by climate change in the present reality.

WHO has recommended that once we start effectively reducing climate change, emissions would be mitigated, and there would be lesser air pollution. And, lesser air pollution means better health.

GOOD READ: Young people “very worried” of climate change, survey discloses

How to battle & tackle?

Several discussions have been taken in public forums by diplomats and politicians, but hardly any implementation on the ground level. However, to effectively achieve the air quality goals, WHO has suggested solutions to be implemented by governments globally.

  • Invest in energy-efficient power generation.
  • Improve domestic industry and municipal waste management.
  • Reduce agricultural waste incineration, forest fires and certain agroforestry activities.
  • Make greener and more compact cities with energy-efficient buildings.
  • Provide universal access to clean, affordable fuels and technologies for cooking, heating, and lighting.
  • Build safe and affordable public transport systems, along with cycle-friendly networks.

Bottom line

The number of premature deaths because of exposure to air pollution is heart-wrenching. Young children and older people are in maximum danger because of toxic air. NGOs, governments, industrialists, and policymakers need to get their heads straight towards framing more reliable and adaptable guidelines for air quality and health.

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