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UN suggests measures to counter poor air quality

Mala calidad del aire

International. The UN agency in charge of ensuring global public health called for a stop funding the use of fossil fuels and proposed to governments 9 measures to improve air quality as an urgent issue.

The UN's call comes taking into account the results of the latest update of the Air Quality Database 2022, presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), which reports that almost the entire world population (99%) breathes air that exceeds the air quality limits set by the same organization.

In addition to the above, poor air quality increases cardiovascular diseases, strokes and lung problems, which lead to around seven million deaths per year that could be prevented.

The irony of this situation is that the number of cities and countries monitoring their air quality increased to an all-time high of 6,000 and 117 respectively, but the inhabitants of those cities continue to breathe unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. People in low- and middle-income countries are more exposed.

- Publicidad -

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said: "High fossil fuel prices, energy security and the urgency of addressing the twin health challenges of air pollution and climate change highlight the urgent need to move more rapidly towards a world much less dependent on fossil fuels."

Aire contaminado en las ciudades

Actions that can be taken by Governments
While several governments are taking steps to improve air quality, the UN agency called for swift escalation of action and said it should:

1. Adopt or review and implement national air quality standards in accordance with the latest air quality guidelines
2. Monitor air quality and identify sources of air pollution
3. Support the transition to the exclusive use of clean energy in homes for cooking, heating and lighting
4. Build safe and affordable public transport systems, as well as networks for pedestrians and cyclists
5. Enforce stricter standards on vehicle emissions and efficiency, and make inspections and maintenance mandatory
6. Invest in housing and efficient power generation
7. Improve the management of industrial and municipal waste
8. Reduce the incineration of agricultural waste, forest fires and certain agroforestry activities (e.g. charcoal production)
9. Include air pollution in the curricula of health professionals and provide tools for the health sector to engage

Air figures
It is relevant to note that most cities have problems with nitrogen dioxide. However, the air in 17% of cities in high-income countries is below the Air Quality Guidelines for PM2.5 or PM10. While in low- and middle-income countries, air quality in less than 1% of cities meets the recommended thresholds.

- Publicidad -

Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO's Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, said: "Having survived a pandemic, it is unacceptable that there are still seven million preventable deaths and countless years of preventable good health due to air pollution. That's what we say when we examine the mountain of data, evidence and solutions available on air pollution. However, too many investments are still being made in a polluted environment rather than in clean, healthy air."

Iris Montoya Ricaurte
Author: Iris Montoya Ricaurte
Periodista con amplia experiencia en corrección de estilo y generación de contenidos de valor para el sector especializado -

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