UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – The World Health Organization (WHO) warned today that more than 90 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted air, saying pollution is responsible for seven million deaths a year.
“In the past six years, levels of pollution in the open air have remained relatively high and stable, with their decline in some areas of Europe and America,” the organization said in a statement.
“Nine out of every 10 people in the world breathe air with high levels of pollutants,” the UN agency said, the same figure as in the World Health Organization’s last report two years ago.
FAO statistics rely on air quality recorded in more than 4,300 cities in 108 countries, more than 1,000 cities compared to the last report.
According to the data, about 7 million people die each year as a result of inhalation of fine particles that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, resulting in diseases such as strokes, heart problems and lung cancer.
Human activity is not the only source of air pollution. Sandstorms, especially near deserts, also affect air quality.
The figures also show that the regions with the highest levels of air pollution are present in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia with annual rates exceeding the level set by the Organization more than five times.