The United Nation’s (UN) secretary general, Antonio Guterres, has disclosed that polluted air kills over seven million people yearly and is the cause of long-term health problems, such as asthma, and reduced cognitive development in children.
He said this on Wednesday, June 5, in a message for this year’s World Environment Day (WED), themed Air Pollution.
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Guterres in a tweet said: “Air pollution kills 7 million people every year, hurts child development, damages economies and contributes to the global climate emergency”. “On #WorldEnvironmentDay & every day, everyone can help #BeatAirPollution and take #ClimateAction”,
In response to his post, the UN noted that 9, out of 10 people around the world were exposed to pollutants which exceed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines.
“9 out of 10 people worldwide are exposed to air pollutants that exceed @WHO air quality guidelines. This is lowering life expectancy & damaging economies across the planet.” — @antonioguterres’ call to #BeatAirPollution on #WorldEnvironmentDay:
“All around the world — from megacities to small villages people are breathing dirty air, the UN confirmed, adding that “this is lowering life expectancy and damaging economies across the planet”.
“To improve air quality, we must know our enemy. Deaths and illnesses from air pollution are caused by tiny particles that penetrate our defences every time we fill our lungs”, the UN explained.
It explained further that the tiny particles are as a result of “burning of fossil fuels for power and transport, chemicals and mining industries, open burning of waste, burning of forests and fields; and the use of dirty indoor cooking and heating fuels, which are major problems in the developing world.
Guterres, in his tweet noted that air pollutants, if unchecked, could cause global warming, and called for caution in the spate of environmental abuse.
“On World Environment Day, I ask each of us to act so we can breathe more easily. From pressuring politicians and businesses to changing our own habits, we can reduce pollution and beat climate change”, Guterres said.