The World Health Organization (WHO) has reduced guidelines on fossil fuels for air pollution

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to reduce pollution and save millions of lives.

During the first update, for 16 years, the guideline for the most harmful pollution – small particles from fossil fuels – was reduced by half. New nitrogen dioxide limit (no2), Mainly produced by diesel engines, has now dropped by 75%.

Strict new restrictions reflect more evidence of the catastrophic loss of life in recent years. Air pollution kills at least 7 million people a year, and a recent study by the World Health Organization estimates that coal, oil and gas fires are an estimated 8.7 million deaths a year – 20% of all deaths.

Pollution reduces the life of the world’s population by an average of two years, and up to six years in highly polluted countries such as India, it is more lethal than smoking, car accidents or HIV / AIDS.


Scientists have emphasized that even new restrictions should not be considered safe, since there is no way to stop pollution. He said that even in countries with relatively fresh air, reducing pollution would improve health. 2019 Review Air pollution can damage every part of the body, cause heart and lung disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease and reduce cognitive function.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is a major environmental threat to human health and is a major public health hazard. More than 90% of the world’s population already breathes national pollution levels. Reducing air pollution provides enormous and cost-effective health benefits and reduces carbon emissions that drive climate change.

“Air pollution is dangerous to health in all countries,” said Tedros Adhanom Gebre-Jesus, director general of the World Health Organization. Although the directive is not legally binding, it can be used by countries to plan their actions. “I urge all countries to use them to reduce suffering and save lives,” he said. The World Health Organization (WHO) says pollution often affects the most vulnerable, and fresh air should be a “fundamental human right.”

Campaign Rosamund Adu-Kisi-Debra, daughter Ella, who was the first person to be publicly identified as the cause of death, said: “Air pollution is affecting children’s health and future. There are no safe standards, but at least following the new guidelines will lead to a path to fresh air for all. ”

“I see the effects of toxic air pollution every day in Johannesburg,” says Leonardo Mackie, a physician at the South African Public Health Association. Updates on air quality standards are long overdue. ”

Renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels, regardless of the economic impact of air pollution, says Greenpeace India’s Ainash Chanchal. “We have all the tools we need to solve the air pollution crisis. In this case, tackling air pollution is a political issue, not a technology issue. ”

According to Greenpeace’s analysis, each of the world’s 100 most populous cities by 2020 will exceed the new World Health Organization’s guidelines for micro-pollution. This includes Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, Lagos, London and Delhi, with the latter exceeding the limit 17 times.

For the new guidelines, Dorota Jarosinska, technical director of the World Health Organization, said:

“Temporary Targets [the WHO has also set] These are the key events in this ongoing process to achieve the highest quality air quality for health. Every step you take to improve air quality will bring health benefits.

The new guidelines are the result of a five-year system review of dozens of scientists, including several rounds of peer reviews, taking into account more than 500 studies. The directive represents the level at which there is already strong evidence of harm to health.

“We are convinced that these are really strong,” said Jarosinska. But these steps do not mean that we are safe [at even lower levels]. ”

One of the most harmful contaminants is small particles, which are less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), which can enter the bloodstream in the lungs and affect other organs. The World Health Organization’s annual exposure guidelines for PM2.5 have been reduced from 10 to 5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg / m3). The World Health Organization classified these particles in 2013 as cancer-related2, The World Health Organization has reduced its annual average limit from 40 to 10 µg / m3.

Today’s pollution could be eliminated by about 80% of millions of deaths related to PM2.5, compared to the 48% reduction under the 2005 limit. “Air pollution may be contributing to the health burden of VV-19,” says the World Health Organization.

In the UK, environmental attorneys ClientEarth has restrictions on PM2.5 and NO2 The World Health Organization (WHO) has now quadrupled, which means that people are far more vulnerable than it should be. No2 In urban areas, rates are 75% higher than in the UK.

“These new guidelines reflect the best science and the conclusion is undeniable – air pollution, even at low levels, poses a serious threat to human health,” said customer editor Andrea Lee. This should serve as a warning to the UK government: Ministers must act quickly.

A spokesman for the British Ministry of Environment said: “We are setting big goals for air quality through our local budget. To address the development of air quality targets, we will look at updated World Health Organization guidelines on PM2.5, but we should not underestimate these challenges, especially in large cities and in people’s daily lives. Consultation on the proposed goals is expected in early 2022.

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