92 per cent of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution
New Delhi, October 1: With 92 per cent of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, health experts have urged people to use air purifiers to tackle poor air, causing respiratory diseases.
They have said that though it sounds unrelated, but breathing in polluted air could lead not just to respiratory diseases but also to obesity and complications like increased chances of miscarriage and poor foetal development.
According to the experts, high levels of air pollution is not only leading to an increase in the respiratory diseases, like poor lung function, asthma and allergies, but also to other health problems like obesity, poor foetal development and increased cases of miscarriage.
“Air Purifiers can be a temporary solution to avoid respiratory diseases caused by the indoor and outdoor air pollution. Breathing in healthy air, at least when people are inside their homes, may help reduce chances of getting into these air pollution related health issues,” says S. P. Byotra, Senior Consultant at Department of Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
World Health Organization (WHO) in its recent report — Ambient Air Pollution: A Global Assessment of Exposure and Burden of Diseases — found that 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in places where poor air quality levels exceed WHO limits.
Nearly 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly two out of three occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
Byotra said: “With air quality getting extremely poor, people have started realizing the importance of ensuring at least indoor air breathable. There is in fact a rise in the trend of Air Purifiers in the cities.”
Among diseases linked to air pollution are cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.
Randhir Dhawan, associated with Department of Medicine of Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said: “Air Purifiers can help in purifying the polluted air to a great extent. Researches have found that though it is not a permanent solution but respiratory diseases can be avoided to a certain extent.”
According to the WHO, more than six million deaths per year are linked to exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution. Data is more solid for outdoor pollution, which is blamed for more than three million fatalities a year.
Vijay Kannan, founder of CLAIM — India’s biggest awareness campaign against air pollution — said: “Apart from people with poor respiratory health, children and elderly, there are pregnant women getting air purifiers installed at their homes because of latest findings on various health hazards of air pollution and rising awareness on the same.”
Kannan, who represents Blue air purifiers in India, said that the company will plant one million trees across the country in the next three years to curb air pollution.