Air pollution poses the greatest risk to human health

DRAFTING. For the average person, air pollution is more dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, and the threat is even greater in South Asia. world epicenter, despite improvements in Chinaaccording to a study published on Tuesday.

Despite this panorama, according to a study by the University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), the funding needed to address this problem is only a small fraction of the funds earmarked for combating infectious diseases.

Index Annual Report Air quality (AQLI) showed that fine particle air pollution – vehicle and industrial emissions, forest fires, etc. – continues to be “the greatest external threat to public health”.

If the world were to permanently reduce these pollutants to the limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the average human lifespan would increase by 2.3 years, according to data collected through 2021.

small particles they are associated with lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

By comparison, tobacco use reduces life expectancy worldwide by 2.2 years, while child malnutrition and the maternal is responsible for the reduction of 1.6 years.

Asia and Africa they bear the heaviest burden despite the weakest infrastructure, and the means to combat air pollution are minimal.

All of Africa receives less than $300,000 for this purpose.

“There is a deep gap between the places where air pollution is most severe and the places where collectively and globally we are deploying Resources to solve the problem,” Christa Hasenkopf, director of air quality programs at EPIC, told AFP.

Although there is an international financial association called Global Fund which spends $4 billion a year to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, there is no equivalent fund to fight air pollution.

“However, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Cameroon, pollution atmospheric shortens the life of the average person by more years than HIV/AIDS, malaria and other health threats,” the report says.

South Asia World most affected area.

Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan are, in that order, the four countries most polluted by their emissions. average values fine particulate matter that is detected by the satellite and defined as particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5).

concentration pollution they are then counted in the AQLI index, which measures the impact on life expectancy.

Inhabitants Bangladeshwhere average PM2.5 levels were 74 micrograms per cubic meter, would extend life by 6.8 years if reduced to the 5 micrograms per cubic meter set by the WHO.

Delhi, the capital of India, is the “largest metropolis”. contaminated in the world” with an average annual content of 126.5 micrograms of particles per cubic meter.

In turn, China has “made remarkable progress in its war air pollution”, which began in 2014.

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Between 2013 and 2021, pollution levels decreased by 42.3%. If this trend continues, every Chinese could live another 2.2 years.

In the United States, rules such as Clean Air Act they have helped reduce pollution by 64.9% since 1970, increasing American life expectancy by 1.4 years.

But the growing threat of wildfires, associated with warmer temperatures and less water due to climate change, has brought air pollution from the western United States. Latin America and Southeast Asia.

For example, during the 2021 California wildfire season in Plumas County, the average concentration of fine particles was more than five times higher than reported. WHO.

The improvement in air pollution in North America in recent decades is similar Europe, but there are still big differences between Western and Eastern Europe. Bosnia is the most polluted European country.

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