UN: Excessive Air Pollution In World's Cities Killing Over 3 Million People Yearly

First Posted: May 13, 2016 04:50 AM EDT

The World Health Organization states that there is a growing problem in large cities in poor and middle-income countries today. They are facing excessive high air pollution that causes the killing of more than 3 million people every year.

The U.N. health agency cited that 56 percent in high-income countries and 98 percent in poorer countries don't meet the WHO air quality guidelines. WHO further stated that ambient air pollution, made of high concentrations of small and fine particulate matter, is the greatest environment risk to health, causing more than 3 million premature deaths worldwide every year.

This is based on the findings in the WHO's Third Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, the country reports and other sources from 2008 to 2013. This involves examining outdoor air in 3,000cities, town and villages--but mostly cities in 103 countries. Africa did not contribute any data.

Dr. Maria Neira, a WHO director for environment and public health said that urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. She further said that awareness is rising and more cities are monitoring their air quality. This makes the global cardiovascular and respiratory related illnesses decrease.

WHO listed Zabol, Iran as the city with the highest air pollutants. New Delhi that had previously topped the list is now on No.11. On the other hand, the India's four cities-Gwalior, Raipur, Patna and Allahabad are in the world's top ten polluted cities.

WebMD states that air pollution is an environmental illness because of its toxic chemicals and pollutants. This can increase the risk of asthma, lung cancer, allergies and respiratory disease. Other signs of potential problems include a runny nose, increased phlegm, dizziness and burning, itchy eyes. Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association explained that pollution makes lungs more vulnerable to respiratory infection. This causes headaches and then triggers the heart attack.

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