- Air pollution globally has risen by 8% in a 5-year period according to the latest data from WHO
- The particulate matter (PM) are particles found in polluted air that can enter the lungs and blood tissues, which cause serious health problems
- Zabol, Iran and Onitsha, Nigeria top the list of most polluted cities based on PM2.5 and PM10 readings, respectively
Air pollution has risen by 8% around the world exposing billions of people to dangerous air, based on recent World Health Organization (WHO) data.
As mentioned in an article published by Tech Times, the data showed rapid decline in air quality across 98% of cities in low- and middle-income countries, most especially in urban areas. Several cities in Southeast Asia, Western Pacific, and the Middle East showed increasingly high levels of air pollution. The levels in these fast-growing cities are five to 10 times higher than the recommended limits.
“As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them,” WHO said.
The latest analysis on the average particulate matter (PM) 2.5 readings indicate that Zabol (Iran), Gwalior (India), Allahabad (India), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Al Jubail (Saudi Arabia) are the top 5 most polluted cities. Meanwhile, for PM10 readings, Onitsha (Nigeria) atop the list followed by Peshawar (Pakistan), Zabol (Iran), Rawalpindi (Pakistan), and Kaduna (Nigeria).
Delhi (India) and Beijing (China), as some may point out as cities with the biggest air pollution problem, place at 11th and 57th, respectively.
Generally, a lot of attention is placed upon particles of a PM2.5 size, which is around one-30th the size of a human hair. These particles can enter the lungs and blood tissue which cause serious health problems, as cited in an article published by The Washington Post.
“Air pollution is a major cause of disease and death,” said WHO Assistant-Director of General, Family, Women and Children’s Health Dr. Flavia Bustreo. “When dirty air blankets our cities the most vulnerable urban populations — the youngest, oldest and poorest — are the most impacted.”