MAJORITY OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION BREATHES UNSAFE AIR

WHO IS AIR POLLUTION HURTING?

Air pollution has been a growing concern for everyone on earth. According to the Health Effects Institute (HEI), a Boston-based nonprofit organization, nearly 95% of the Earth’s population is breathing unsafe air. 

The State of Global Air reported the highest risk to people living in North and West Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.  In these parts of the world, people are more likely to breathe unsafe air. The data also showed that poor countries are more likely to have a higher risk.  For example, a poor developing country will have less money.  Therefore, they won’t be able to buy technology to help reduce pollution.

WHAT ARE FINE PARTICLES?

So, what does this mean for the rest of the world’s air? HEI completed a test of outdoor air quality.  This test showed that the tiny bits of stuff floating in the air (fine particles) are bad if we breathe them in.  Examples include soot, pollen, smoke, and dust. Some researchers believe that fine particle air pollution is the largest environmental risk worldwide. The tiny particles cause a large number of deaths. Additionally, fine particle pollution isn’t only a threat to humans.  Animals are at risk as well.  In conclusion, both humans and animals are in danger of more breathing problems when fine particles are around us.

WHAT ELSE CAUSES AIR POLLUTION?

HEI’s tests also found that household air quality is also a problem.  Some examples include people burning fuels for heating and cooking in their homes.  Both heating and cooking can create smoke or soot that can harm our health.  Another example is mold.  Molds can grow in homes and spread around the house through the air. Mold spreads by spores.  Spores are tiny bits of mold that float in the air.  When people breathe mold they can get very sick.  Overall, household air pollution is ranked as the 8th cause of early deaths.  Some data shows that household air pollution caused about 11% of global deaths in 2016.

Indoor air pollution is a major concern.  Other areas of concern include pollution from, factories, logging, dust, and traffic.  All of these things make chemicals that get into the air we breathe.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

According to Bob O’Keefe, vice president of HEI, improvements to help control global air pollution are on the horizon. China and India have put into place stricter regulations to help limit pollution.  In some countries, social media has also been very important. The use of social media gives people the information they need.  Then, they are able to make informed choices about air quality.  Additionally, they can learn how to protect their health.

In order for air pollution to be reduced laws need to change.  As a group, we need to voice our concerns to our government.  Together we can help others learn about the health concerns of poor air quality.  It’s very important for those we love who already have breathing problems. Finally, our health, the health of our environment, and the health of wildlife depend on clean air.

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