Half of the world's population exposed to increasing air pollution
The study, conducted in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), shows that despite global efforts to improve air quality, large segments of the world's population are experiencing increased levels of air pollution.
Published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science on June 17th 2020, this recent study suggests that air pollution is in many areas a major and growing threat to public health. As the World Health Organization highlighted, more than 4 million deaths annually can be attributed to outdoor air pollution.
The team of researchers, led by Professor Gavin Shaddick from the University of Exeter, has shown that, despite global efforts to improve air quality, vast swathes of the world's population are experiencing increased levels of air pollution. Regarding the methodology used for this report, the scientists examined trends in global air quality between 2010 and 2016, and examined the results of short and long term policies implemented as a global effort to reduce air pollution.
As Professor Shaddick underlined: "While long-term policies to reduce air pollution have been shown to be effective in many regions, notably in Europe and the United States, there are still regions that have dangerously high levels of air pollution, some as much as five times greater than World Health Organization guidelines, and in some countries air pollution is still increasing." If air pollution affects high and low-income countries alike, the low- and middle-income countries experience the highest burden, especially in Central, Eastern Southern, and South-Eastern Asia.
Authors: G. Shaddick, M. L. Thomas, P. Mudu, G. Ruggeri, S. Gumy. - University of Exeter