Ground Report | New Delhi: Died due to pollution in cities; A recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health magazine highlights, once again, the need to reduce air pollution in cities, a place where more than 50% of humanity lives. 2.5 billion of these people, for example, and according to the paper, were exposed between 2000 and 2019 to annual average levels of fine particles in the environment (PM 2.5) that exceed the guideline of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Long-term exposure to PM 2.5 is associated with premature mortality from a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, lung cancer, and lower respiratory tract infections,” say the authors, led by researcher Veronica A Southerland. . PM 2.5 is the main environmental contributor to the global burden of disease. The concentration at these levels, they estimate, caused an excess of 1.8 million deaths in 2019.
This study examines PM 2.5 concentrations and associated mortality trends in more than 13,000 cities around the world. The researchers found that the average concentration of this particle in all the urban areas analyzed globally was 35 micrograms per cubic meter in 2019, unchanged from 2000. This is seven times higher than the WHO guideline of 2021 ( five micrograms per cubic meter).
The authors estimate that 61 of every 100,000 deaths in urban areas were attributable to PM2.5 in 2019. “To avoid the great public health burden posed by air pollution, strategies will be needed that not only reduce emissions but also improve general public health to reduce vulnerability, ”said A Southerland. While the concern spans the entire world, there are regions where pollution is higher.
The study found the largest regional increases in population-weighted mean PM2.5 concentration in urban areas of Southeast Asia. Cities in that part of the world experienced a 27% increase in particle concentration between 2000 and 2019 and also experienced the largest increase in mortality rates attributable to PM2.5 during this period, increasing by 33%, from 63 to 84 per 100,000 people.
There are limitations that the authors acknowledge of their study. For example, their estimate evaluated only the impact of PM2.5 on mortality, without taking into account other health burdens caused by PM2.5, such as low birth weight, premature birth, and cognitive decline.
The study revealed that in 2019 there were 1.85 million new cases of pediatric asthma associated with NO2; 8.5% of all new pediatric asthma cases registered that year. About two out of three of these pediatric asthma cases attributable to NO2 occurred in the 13,189 urban areas included in the study. In urban areas, NO2 was responsible for 16% of all new pediatric asthma cases in 2019.
In both 2000 and 2019, 1.2 million cases of pediatric asthma in urban areas could be attributed to NO2 contamination, however, the rate per 100,000 children decreased by 11%, from 176 to 156 per 100,000 children, since the urban population grew 14%.” (Died due to pollution in cities)
Our results demonstrate the important influence of combustion-related air pollution on the health of children in cities around the world,” says Dr. Susan Anenberg of George Washington University, who is the co-first author of the study on the NO2 and corresponding author of both studies.
“In places with effective air quality management programs, NO2 concentrations have been trending down for decades, with benefits for children’s respiratory health,” he adds. “Even with these improvements. , current levels of NO2 contribute substantially to the incidence of pediatric asthma, which shows that the mitigation of air pollution should be a fundamental element of children’s public health strategies “.