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10 things to know about air pollution (WHO) |
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10 things to know about air pollution (WHO)

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  1. Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air.
  2. Air pollution kills 7 million people every year, 4 million of whom die from indoor air pollution.
  3. 91% of those premature deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and the greatest number in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
  4. The key pollutants include particulate matter, a mix of solid and liquid droplets arising mainly from fuel combustion; nitrogen dioxide from road traffic; ozone at ground level, caused by the reaction of sunlight with pollutants from industrial facilities and vehicle emissions; and sulfur dioxide, an invisible gas from burning fossil fuels like coal
  5. A microscopic pollutant – PM2.5 – is so tiny that it can pass through many of our body’s protective armors such as mucous membranes and other barriers, to damage our lungs, heart and brain.
  6. Children are highly affected by air pollution. Exposure to air pollution is linked to respiratory disease, cancers and cognitive impairment in infants, children and adolescents.
  7. Household air pollution is a significant challenge and 3 billion don’t have access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking (women and children tend to be the most affected, since they spend longer indoors in areas where people use polluting stoves and lamps indoors).
  8. Air pollution is also damaging the health of our planet by driving climate change
  9. Countries should implement better urban planning policies, regulate dirty emissions, and ban highly polluting vehicles.
  10. Individuals, when they have the option, use cleaner burning technologies and fuels for household activities like cooking, heating, or lighting; avoid burning waste and recycle as much as possible, and walk or cycle instead of driving cars.
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