This week (October 30-November 1, 2018) saw the first global conference on air pollution hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, coming close behind the October 29 release of WHO’s report on air pollution and child health. The purpose of the conference is to discuss research and actionable steps toward improving air quality and combating climate change with the ultimate purpose of saving lives today and in future generations. Key findings of the report include:
-Globally, 93% of the world’s children under 15yo are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above WHO air quality guidelines, which include the 630 million children under 5yo, and the 1.8 billion of children under 15yo.
-More than 40% of the world’s population – which includes 1 billion children under 15yo – is exposed to high levels of household air pollution from mainly cooking with polluting technologies and fuels.
-In low- and middle-income countries around the world, 98% of all children under 5yo are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. In comparison, in high-income countries, 52% of children under 5 are exposed to levels above WHO air quality guidelines.
To complement this information, accompanying a recent article, The Guardian news outlet has used WHO and NASA information to produce a static global map of relative air quality based on concentration of PM2.5 particulates (below). Yellow/orange areas have air quality above the WHO guideline, and darker/redder areas far exceed the human health guideline. There is also an interactive global map of various air quality metrics, including PM2.5 information, and wind/ocean currents available via Null School (about). Link to interactive map: https://dh3p7.app.goo.gl/59Xp