The agency said that air pollution is the cause of about one in eight deaths and has now become the single biggest environmental health risk. We all have to breathe, which makes pollution very hard to avoid said director of the environmental research group at King’s College London, who was not part of the WHO report. One of the main risks of pollution is that tiny particles can get deep into the lungs, causing irritation. Scientists also suspect air pollution may be to blame for inflammation in the heart, leading to chronic problems or a heart attack.
WHO’s report noted that women had higher levels of exposure than men in developing countries. Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves, WHO Assistant Director-General for family, women and children’s health, said in a statement. Other experts said that more research was needed to identify the deadliest components of pollution in order to target control measures more effectively. They don’t know if dust from the Sahara is as bad as diesel fuel or burning coal, said chair in global environmental health at Imperial College London. He said that it was mostly up to governments to curb pollution levels, through measures like legislation, moving power stations away from big cities and providing cheap alternatives to indoor wood and coal stoves.
He said that people could also reduce their individual exposure to choking fumes by avoiding traveling at rush hour or by taking smaller roads. Despite the increasing use of face masks in heavily polluted cities, he said that there was little evidence that they work. The real problem is that wearing masks sends out the message they can live with polluted air, he said. They need to change their way of life entirely to reduce pollution.
Source: Firstpost.world, Mar’14