Air pollution 'world's largest single environmental health risk'

More must be done to combat air pollution, according to leading health officials. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said seven million people died in 2012 from polluted air.

'Concerted action' needed to clean up air pollution

A unified, global effort is needed to combat air pollution, the WHO said.

Dr Maria Neira, director of WHO's department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, added:

The risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes.

Few risks have a greater impact on global health today than air pollution; the evidence signals the need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.

– Dr Maria Neira

Read: WHO warns of air pollution health risks

WHO warns of air pollution health risks

More must be done to combat air pollution after seven million people died from diseases related to it in 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned.

Read: The most polluted cities in Europe

Air pollution in Shenyang
People living in South East Asia are most at risk from severe air pollution, the WHO said. Credit: Reuters

Air pollution is "the world's largest single environmental health risk", according to WHO, which suggested people on low to middle incomes would be most at risk.

A new WHO report suggests there is a link between air pollution and heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer.

Many of the deaths in 2012 occurred in low and middle-income countries in south east Asia and the western Pacific region, where about 3.3m died as a result of indoor air pollution and 2.6m deaths were related to outdoor air pollution, WHO said.

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO's assistant director-general for family, woman and children's health explained: "Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents non communicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly."

Read: Cities engulfed in thick smog in northeastern China

Advertisement