WHO: Air Quality Deteriorating in Many of the World’s Cities
According to WHO, air quality in most cities worldwide that monitor outdoor (ambient) air pollution fails to meet the guidelines for safe levels, putting people at additional risk of respiratory disease and other health problems.
WHO’s urban air quality database covers 1600 cities across 91 countries – 500 more cities than the previous database (2011), revealing that more cities worldwide are monitoring outdoor air quality, reflecting growing recognition of air pollution’s health risks.
Only 12% of the people living in cities reporting on air quality reside in cities where this complies with WHO air quality guideline levels. About half of the urban population being monitored is exposed to air pollution that is at least 2.5 times higher than the levels WHO recommends - putting those people at additional risk of serious, long-term health problems.
“We cannot buy clean air in a bottle, but cities can adopt measures that will clean the air and save the lives of their people,” said Dr Carlos Dora, Coordinator, Interventions for Healthy Environments, WHO Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.