According to two recent studies published in The Lancet Planetary Health, about 86% of people living in urban areas around the world, nearly 2.5 billion people, are exposed to harmful particulate levels.
A condition that has led to the premature death of about 1.8 million inhabitants in the world, only in 2019. In addition, in the same year, nearly 2 million cases of asthma, among children around the world, were attributable to NO2 pollution (nitrooxide), two out of three of which were in urban areas.
Dr. Robert Hughes, clinical researcher at LSHTM and Children, Cities and Climate Project, said: “These important and timely studies underline the urgency of improving urban air quality and reducing fuel dependence
“By basing ourselves on the results of the preliminary report by Children, Cities and Climate of LSHTM, estimates are added to increasing evidence that decarbonisation of cities can improve our health and that of our children, while reducing the risk of disintegration
“Improving air quality will be crucial to achieving global health and climate objectives. Although the specific policies for doing so vary from city to city. One common theme is that we must radically reduce the use of fossil fuels everywhere.”
“It’s going to be hard to get used to overnight, but we have to stop burning stuff, especially where we live. This includes trying to stop using exclusively petrol and diesel to power our cars, try to abandon the heating of our homes with fossil fuels and decarbonize our electricity networks as soon as possible.”
It will be essential for future studies to examine trends over time and provide regional comparisons, highlighting the heterogeneous global picture. Since air quality in some cities may show a gradual improvement, many urban agglomerations are deteriorating, leading to an increasing number of air pollution-related diseases, particularly in low and medium-income countries.
Unfortunately, air pollution is a silent and terrible killer, and as if the environmental dangers that we already know were not enough, a new form of pollution has been identified in recent years.