Air Pollution


Air pollution is the release of harmful chemicals and particulates into the air. This can happen naturally, such as when a volcano erupts, or it can be caused by human activity, like when factories release emissions into the air. Harmful polluting chemicals can come from car exhausts, factories, burning coal and wood, and agricultural activities.

Pollution affects the quality of the air we breathe and can cause a number of health problems, including respiratory infections, heart disease, and cancer. It can reduce the quality of life for people living in polluted areas and have negative economic impacts by making it difficult for people to work or travel in polluted areas.

It can also damage the environment, harm animals and plants, impact crops, forests, and water resources and contribute to climate change.

This is a problem in many parts of the world, and it is getting worse. There are many things that people can do to reduce air pollution, but it will take the effort of everyone to make a difference.

Why should we care?

World Health Organisation data show that almost all of the global population (99%) breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures.

Research from Harvard University found that more than 8 million people died in 2018 from fossil fuel pollution—meaning that pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal and diesel was responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths worldwide.

Facts and figures

The World Health Organisation says that 7 million premature deaths caused by air pollution every year

In 2016, the WHO estimated air pollution caused 52,000 deaths in children aged 5-15 years old

Air pollution is the cause of more than 50% of all cases of acute lower respiratory infection in kids less than five years old

3 billion people worldwide still use open fires and solid fuels to cook with, contributing to household air pollution

WHO estimates that life expectancy is lowered by 8.6 months due to outdoor air pollution even if people follow WHO guidelines