An award-winning missionary magazine

WORLD: Most people breathe bad air

The World Health Organization said that 92 percent of people breathe unhealthy air, another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.

A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year – mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other non-communicable diseases – were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said.

In previous studies, the W.H.O. estimated that more than 8 in 10 people in urban areas, that monitored air pollution, were breathing unhealthy air.

The new study reduced the second estimate to 6.5 million deaths. But María P. Neira, director of the W.H.O.’s Department of Public Health and Environment, said that “the trends are still going in the wrong direction.”

The study said that major drivers of global air pollution included inefficient energy use and transportation but that non-human factors, such as dust storms, also played a role.

Professor Balasubramanian said it was an open question whether countries in Southeast Asia, a region that has densely packed cities and struggles to combat cross-border pollution, would choose to improve urban air quality by switching to cleaner fuels in their power plants, as Western European countries did several decades ago.

Prolonging the decisions will probably increase the health risk from air pollution, he said, because the region’s population is rising and demanding more energy.


Read These Next


GLOBAL: Water shortages : 'severe hit' to economies

Water shortages will deliver a “severe hit” to the economies of the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa by the middle of the century, taking double digits off their GDP, the World Bank recently…

PHILIPPINES: Christians Threatened in Jolo

One Christian was killed and others are threatened by radical Islamic groups in Jolo, a small island in the southern Philippines. The missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)…

AFRICA: “Do Not Forget South Sudan”

Pope Francis has called on the international community not to forget South Sudan and in particular the serious humanitarian emergency unfolding there, according to Vatican Radio. The Pope made the…

Share Your Thoughts


Loading Conversation

Sign up for the newsletter

Getting your own copy of "Friends of the Mission" is free. Sign up with your complete address to get one delivered right to your doorstep.

Kindly double check that the information you entered is correct and accurate. Thank you!