Did you know that one in eight deaths around the world is linked to the bad air quality, which makes this issue the world’s largest single environmental health risk. WHO recently issued new information estimating that outdoor air pollution was responsible for the deaths of some 3.7 million people under the age of 60 in 2012.
On May 7th, the World Health Organistaion published the latest of its series of warnings about the fast degradation of air quality around the globe. Its Urban Air Quality database, which covers more than 1600 cities in over 91 countries around the globe has presented a worrying trend and an increase in the overall pollution. Interesting fact is that only 12% of world cities have acceptable pollution levels, while the 25% of people living in the urban areas breathe in the air with 2.5 times more contaminants than recommended levels. Another interesting fact is that ti not Bejing that has the lowest quality air on the planet, but Delhi.
What can breathing a bad air do to a human organism? For starters, it influences developing or worsening respiratory illnesses and other health problems. Your nose, mouth, and throat receive all the pollutant and and represent the front line of defense against disease. The pollutants that accumulate in the nose can cause problems in the nose and sinuses or be absorbed by your body, causing serious complications. Although not that much directly, air pollution can damage your skin as well, causing skin cancer. Pollution is damaging the ozone layer which is then allowing harmful amounts of UVB to penetrate to the earth’s surface. The blood and cardiovascular system suffer as well. The blood is carrying heavy metals delivered through lungs and thus damaging the heart and blood vessels. In the end, there is the brain. With blood deficient in oxygen and carrying heavy pollutant, the brain cannot function properly.
"Too many urban centers today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible," said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Children and Women's Health. In Bejing, for example, the authorities had to install great screens which are broadcasting the sunlight because a true sun is never visible (even during the day) due to the pollution.