Air pollution and its threat to health are unevenly distributed around the world.

The latest 2021 Air Quality of Life Index (AQLI) compiled by the University of Chicago (USA) showed that, as global pollution increased in 2021has also increased its burden on human health and that this impact is unevenly distributed around the world, being more pronounced in countries such as Bangladesh, India or China.

If the world were to continuously reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution to meet the guidelines World Health Organization (WHO), the average person will add 2.3 years to their life expectancy, or a total of 17.8 billion life years saved worldwide.

These data clearly show that particulate pollution continues to represent the largest external risk to human health in the world, affecting Life expectancy comparable to smoking, more than three times higher than from drinking alcohol and contaminated water, and more than five times higher than from traffic injuries such as car accidents. However, the problem of pollution around the world is highly uneven.

“Three-quarters of the impact of air pollution on life expectancy in the world occurs in just six countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Nigeria and Indonesia.where people lose one to more than six years of their lives because of the air they breathe,” says Milton Friedman, emeritus professor of economics and creator of AQLI, along with colleagues from the University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute (EPIC). , Michael Greenstone.

In fact, many polluted countries lack the basic infrastructure to deal with air pollution. Asia and Africa are two of the most prominent examples. These two countries account for 92.7 per cent of the years of life lost due to pollution.

However, only 6.8 and 3.7 percent Asian and African governmentsaccordingly, provide their citizens with air quality data in a completely transparent manner. Moreover, only 35.6 and 4.9 percent of countries in Asia and Africa, respectively, have air quality standards, which is the most basic policy component.

Today’s collective investment in global air quality infrastructure also falls short of where air pollution causes the most damage to human life. Although there is a large global fund for HIV AIDSmalaria and tuberculosis, which cost four billion dollars annually, there is no equivalent set of coordinated resources to combat air pollution.

In fact, the entire African continent receives less $300,000 in air pollution charities (i.e. the current average price of a single-family home in the United States). Only $1.4 million goes to Asia, excluding China and India. Meanwhile, Europe, USA and Canada according to the Clean Air Foundation, will receive $34 million.

“Timely, reliable and open air quality data can be the backbone of civil society and government efforts to achieve clean air, providing the information people and governments lack and enabling better informed policy decisions,” says AQLI Director Christa Hasenkopf.

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