Air pollution may shorten life expectancy of children by 20 months
A new global air pollution report emphasizes the negative health impacts of dangerous pollutants and the disproportionate burden of poor air quality in Asia and Africa.
The 2019 State of Global Air (SOGA) report is a collaboration between the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease.
The yearly report is meant to provide the public with a comprehensive overview of the most up to date information on air quality and health for the world’s nations. 2019’s report marks the first time that air pollution’s impact on life expectancy was factored into the findings.
Understanding how air pollution impacts human health and wellbeing is vital especially as the World Health Organization recently found that 90 percent of the world’s population breathes highly polluted air.
“The growing burden of disease from air pollution is among the major challenges facing national governments and public health officials, with far-reaching implications for national economies and human well-being,” the report said.
Research has shown that air pollution shortens life expectancy and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Children are the most susceptible to the life-threatening impacts of air pollution, and the report found that poor air quality can shorten their lifespan by 20 months. In South Asia, air pollution is shortening lifespans by 30 months.
One of the most significant problems with air pollution is the high levels of PM 2.5 or particulate matter that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter.
“Major PM 2.5 sources in India include household burning of solid fuels; dust from construction, roads, and other activities; industrial and power plant burning of coal; brick production; transportation; and diesel-powered equipment,” the report said.
In African countries, air pollution shortens average life expectancy by two years.
Air pollution in some countries is such a widespread and toxic problem that governments are turning to extreme measures like cloud seeding to make it rain or installing outdoor air purifiers.
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