scorecardYou are not safe from air pollution anywhere in the world, finds a new study
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You are not safe from air pollution anywhere in the world, finds a new study

You are not safe from air pollution anywhere in the world, finds a new study
LifeScience2 min read
  • Air pollution affects almost all parts of the world, with a tiny area still below safety levels.
  • According to a new study, only 0.18% of land area and 0.001% of the global population has clean air.
  • Polluted air can cause diseases such as asthma and lung cancer in people.
Air pollution is one of the world's biggest problems, and it has reached a level wherein you are not safe from it anywhere in the world. You might be mistaken if you thought you were breathing clean air.

According to a study by Melbourne’s Monash University, almost no area on earth has air pollution levels deemed safe by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Less than 0.2% land area has good air
According to the study, only 0.18% of the global land area is exposed to concentrations of PM 2.5 that are below the levels of safety recommended by the WHO. The number gets worse when you talk about people. Only 0.001% of the global population can breathe air below the safety levels recommended by the WHO.

Professor Yuming Guo, who led the study, highlighted the importance of the study, said, "It provides a deep understanding of the current state of outdoor air pollution and its impacts on human health. With this information, policymakers, public health officials, and researchers can better assess the short-term and long-term health effects of air pollution and develop air pollution mitigation strategies.”

PM 2.5 pollutants are tiny and can penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system, increasing the risk of death due to respiratory and cardiovascular problems such as asthma and lung cancer.

While the situation has improved in Europe and North America, it has worsened in Southern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, and the Caribbean. At present, more than 70% of days globally are seeing pollution levels above what is safe.

"In this study, we used an innovative machine learning approach to integrate multiple meteorological and geological information to estimate the global surface-level daily PM2.5 concentrations at a high spatial resolution of approximately 10km ×10km for global grid cells in 2000-2019, focusing on areas above 15 μg/m3, which is considered the safe limit by WHO," Guo said, while speaking about the methodology used.

The situation is worse in southern and eastern Asia as more than 90% of days had daily PM 2.5 concentrations higher than the safe levels.

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