United Nations: Air Pollution In Many Cities isKilling Millions
May 12, 2016. The WHO (World Health Organization), a part of the United Nations, released some information that has many low- and middle-income countries around the world choking, literally.
The Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, kept by the WHO, revealed that 98% of the residents of large cities experience high pollution rates. This is killing in excess of three million people each year, the report states.
This agency, which tracks this data, holds that 80 percent of city residents worldwide reside in places that do not meet the WHO air quality standards. The breakdown is 98% in the lower income cities and 56 percent in higher income countries.
This ambient air pollution is composed, the WHO states, of “concentrations including fine and small particulate matter,” which is regarded as the greatest health risk. It is causing “three million and more premature deaths” each and every year.
The Third Global Database of Urban Air Pollution examines, as the previous two did, the air quality outdoors in 3,000 cities—and small towns and cities in 103 countries. The data sets come from documented information from 2008 through 2013. This includes many countries in Africa, although some do not contribute data for the studies.
The news release that accompanied the conclusion of the study reported that air pollution levels had risen about 8 percent after that despite improvements in some of the regions. The release did note that many people face higher stroke, lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory risks as this outlook worsens.
Dr. Maria Neira, an officer from the WHO, states: “Wreaking havoc on human health,” the urban air pollution is rising “at an alarming rate.” She does say that as air quality does improve in some areas, the cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses do decrease.
This agency’s database listed Zabol, a city in Iran, as having the highest annual concentration of particulate matter in the size range of 2.5 microns. This is one of the key measures of particles that can do the most damage to health. Using this standard, India is the home of most of the 21 cities with the highest pollution on the WHO’s list.
Once the dirtiest city, New Delhi has dropped to number 11. This has occurred because of a drop of about 20% in its annual concentration of particulate matter in the period between 2013 and 2015. This happened because of air cleaning measures, such as banning cargo trucks and old cars within the city limits and heavy fines on burning garbage. Shutting down a coal-fired plant was also a significant factor in this designation.
Anumita Roychowdhury, of the Center for Science and Environment in Delhi, said that New Delhi has been successful in arresting its dangerous trend, and it shows that if proper action is taken, “you will see results.”
India is, however, still struggling. Raipur (seventh on the list), Patna (sixth), Allahabad (third) and Gwalior (second) still surpass New Delhi in the top ten polluted cities. WHO data is responsible for this listing and the rest of this information.
Tuzla has the worst air pollution on the European continent. This rank does not reach the levels in China, Pakistan or India. Some of the worst pollution in the United States is in the Golden State, in the Visalia-Porterville area, although its ranking of 1,080 is far lower than most of the developing world.
Paris is sitting at 1,116 on this list of most polluted cities, and London comes in at 1,389. This is compared to New York at 2,369 on this very long and dirty list.
Sinclair, Wyoming was declared the database’s cleanest town, with a ranking of 2,973 and a particulate matter reading of 3, based on a size of 2.5 microns. The particulate reading of the most polluted city, Zabol, is 217 at 2.5.
The particle counts, the WHO has determined, should be based on the 2.5-micron size and also be less than 10. Dr. Sophie Gumy of the WHO stated that these readings can be problematic in comparison due to the sources not lining up exactly in many cases.
The reason for this is that some countries publish their official stats on air pollution and others don’t. The monitoring stations have widely differing types of locations. Some stations will monitor close to highways, and some will include air pollution night data, which varies from daylight conditions. Rainy seasons must be paid attention to while interpreting data because rain can wash pollution out of the air. Dry air allows the pollution to linger long after it is generated.
The WHO did praise many countries and cities as well as towns because they promoted more environment-friendly energy sources, better policies on waste management and cleaner handling of transportation.