Disease of the developing world: Air pollution

To raise public awareness around the world and encourage efforts to improve air quality, 7 September has been celebrated as “Clean Air Day for a Blue Sky” since 2019.

According to the 2022 World Air Pollution Report, Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain and Bangladesh are among the most polluted countries in the world. The cleanest air countries were listed as Guam, French Polynesia and Bermudas.

The city with the highest air pollution in the world was shown as Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to the 2022 data of the European Statistical Office (Eurostat), Bosnia and Herzegovina was the most polluted country in Europe, followed by North Macedonia and Serbia.

In the report published by Switzerland-based IQ Air, which monitors the air quality of 101 countries in the world live, Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand were shown among the countries with the cleanest air in the world.

Air pollution causes 7 million deaths each year.

According to the 2020 data of the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution causes 7 million deaths worldwide every year. This number indicates that the deaths caused by air pollution are at the same level as deaths caused by smoking and malnutrition.

The European Environment Agency (EEA), on the other hand, announced that 238,000 people across the European Union (EU) died “prematurely” in 2020 due to pollution caused by “small particles in the air”.

The EEA also noted that air pollution kills more than 1,200 children and young people under the age of 18 in Europe each year.

According to WHO standards, the fine particulate matter (PM2,5) value must be at most 5 micrograms per cubic meter in order for the air in a region to be “clean breathable air”.

In a report published by WHO in 2022, it was emphasized that 99 percent of the world’s population lives behind the quality air standards and in conditions that threaten human health.

According to the report, it was shared that the air in all of the countries and cities examined contains fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide at a rate harmful to the body, and that these elements are mostly found in the air of “middle and low-income countries”.

In the report, which measures the amount of harmful particulate matter in the air, PM2.5 and PM10 rates have increased more than 6 times in the last 11 years in approximately 2,000 cities, it was underlined that these particulate substances can enter the lungs and blood circulation through respiration and cause paralysis and respiratory diseases.

In the aforementioned report, WHO also shared the data that preventable environmental problems cause the death of more than 13 million people in the world annually.

If air standards are met, it is possible to increase human life by 2.3 years.

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) report published by the University of Chicago Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) also examined the effects of air pollution on human life.

In the report, the average human lifespan could be extended by 2.3 years if all countries meet WHO’s air pollution standards; It was reported that this could add 17.8 billion life years to the world population.

Emphasizing that air pollution continues to be the biggest external threat to human life, the report stated that it causes the most deaths in South Asia.

In the report, it was pointed out that the continuation of the current pollution level in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan could reduce the human life expectancy by an average of 5 years.

According to the 2022 World Air Pollution Report, Turkey ranks 45th in the world air pollution ranking.

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