WHO Slashes Limits on Air Pollution from Fossil Fuels

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday has slashed its recommended limits for air pollution to reduce deaths linked to fossil fuel pollution and encourage movement towards clean energy.

The new guideline halved the limit for the most damaging pollution which is mostly tiny particles from burning fossil fuels with nitrogen dioxide (NO2), produced by diesel engines, lowered to 75%.

WHO said that an estimated seven million people die prematurely each year from diseases linked to air pollution.

A recent study estimated 8.7 million early deaths a year from coal, oil, and gas burning which accounts for 20% of all deaths.

Medical professionals linked air pollution to conditions such as heart disease and strokes. Air pollution can also reduce lung growth and cause aggravated asthma for children.

WHO said that low- and middle-income countries suffer the most because of their reliance on fossil fuels for economic development.

WHO is now urging its 194 member states to cut emissions and take action on climate change ahead of the COP26 summit in November.

“WHO’s new Air Quality Guidelines are an evidence-based and practical tool for improving the quality of the air on which all life depends. I urge all countries and all those fighting to protect our environment to put them to use to reduce suffering and save lives,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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