The New York Times reports: The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.
A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said that about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said.
“When you look out through the windows in your house or apartment, you don’t see the tiny little particles that are suspended in the air, so the usual perception is that the air is clean,” Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, an air quality expert at the National University of Singapore who was not involved in the study, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“But the W.H.O. report is a clear indication that even in the absence of air pollution episodes, the concentrations of particles suspended in the air do exceed what’s considered to be acceptable from a health viewpoint,” he said. [Continue reading…]