Posted by Neno Duplan
According to BBC News, The World Health Organization (WHO) recently estimated that seven million people died in 2012 as a result of air pollution. The organization also claims that this translates to one out of eight global deaths being associated with air pollution—making it “the world’s largest single environmental health risk.”
Further WHO statistics state that nearly six million deaths out of the seven occurred in low to middle-income countries in South East Asia and the WHO’s Western Pacific region, with approximately 2.6 million people dying as a result of outdoor air pollution, and 3.3 million from indoor pollution.
What are the main causes of death for outdoor verses indoor air pollution? The WHO found the two top causes of death from outdoor pollution to be heart disease (40%) and stroke (40%), and the top three for indoor pollution were stroke (34%), heart disease (26%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (22%). Lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children were also linked to both outdoor and indoor air pollution.
According to the WHO, reducing air pollution could save millions of lives. The WHO’s estimates were based on ground-level monitoring, satellite data, pollution-emissions data, and modeling how pollution drifts in the air.
“The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes,” said Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.”