99% of humanity lives in areas with substandard air, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the release of a new report Monday showing that 99% of the world population is living in areas where air quality does not meet WHO standards.

People living in countries of low and middle income are most affected by exposure to unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, the WHO said.

The extent of global air pollution is documented in the latest WHO database and report, which has been updated every 2-3 years since 2011.

Based on reporting from more than 6,000 locations around the world, this new air quality database by the WHO “introduces, for the first time, ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common urban pollutant and precursor of particulate matter and ozone. It also includes measurements of particulate matter with diameters equal to or smaller than 10 μm (PM10) or 2.5 μm (PM2.5).  Both groups of pollutants originate mainly from human activities related to fossil fuel combustion.”

Read the full report here.

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