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WHO shock: 99% of the world's population breathes polluted air

The most alarming data

The most alarming data

A few days before World Health Day, which is celebrated on 7 April each year, the WHO presented its updated air quality database, which revealed the shocking fact that 99% of the world's population breathes polluted air. That is, it exceeds the air quality limits set by the WHO and threatens their health.

Going into more detail, it emerges that in 17% of cities in rich countries, air quality is below WHO guidelines for the presence of Pm2.5 or PM10. But the situation is no better in low- and middle-income countries, where air quality meets WHO recommended thresholds in less than 1% of cities.

The new WHO database

The new WHO database

The World Health Organisation has reiterated the importance of limiting the use of fossil fuels. The new database, the largest to date to assess air pollution exposure on land, includes for the first time ground-based measurements of annual average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common urban pollutant, and PM10 and 2.5 particulate matter from fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, evidence of the damage caused by pollution to the human body has grown rapidly and indicates significant damage caused by much lower levels than previously thought. "After surviving a pandemic, it is unacceptable to still have 7 million preventable deaths and countless years of good health lost due to pollution." - says Maria Neira, Director of the WHO Environment Department.

"Current energy concerns underline the importance of accelerating the transition to cleaner and healthier energy systems" - said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO - "and moving faster towards a world that is much less dependent on fossil fuels."

The health blog