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posted by n1 on Wednesday May 07 2014, @11:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-holding-my-breath--oh-wait dept.

Air pollution in many of the worlds cities is breaching guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its survey of 1,600 cities in 91 countries revealed that nearly 90% of people in urban centres breathe air that fails to meet levels deemed safe.

The WHO says that about half of the world's urban population is exposed to pollution at least 2.5 times higher than it recommends.

Air quality was poorest in Asia, followed by South America and Africa.

Related Stories

UNICEF Says 17 Million Babies Worldwide Breathe Air Pollution Six Times Worse Than Recommended Limit 12 comments

Toxic air puts 17 million babies' brains and lungs at risk: UNICEF

About 17 million babies worldwide live in areas where outdoor air pollution is six times the recommended limit, and their brain development is at risk, the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

The majority of these babies – more than 12 million – are in South Asia, it said, in a study of children under one-year-old, using satellite imagery to identify worst-affected regions.

"Not only do pollutants harm babies' developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures," said UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake.

The links between air pollution and dain bramage are not yet conclusive, according to the report's author.

UNICEF press release. Danger in the air (PDF).

Related: Air Quality Unsafe for 90% of People In Urban Centres
80 Percent of World's City Dwellers Breathing Bad Air: UN
Study Links Pregnant Women's Exposure to Air Pollution to Shorter Telomeres in Babies
Lancet Report Says Pollution Caused 9 Million Premature Deaths in 2015
Air Pollution Linked to Osteoporosis and Bone Fractures


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  • (Score: 2) by mendax on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:12AM

    by mendax (2840) on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:12AM (#40749)

    I live next to a major east-west Interstate highway. I'm already on death's door no doubt from all that diesel exhaust and tire dust put out by all the traffic.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:29AM (#40760)

      Cough, cough ... cough cough. I wonder if it‘s worth investing in an air filter. Cough cough cough cough. Sneeze.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @01:02AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @01:02AM (#40771)

      Don't despair, the economic activity after the coming war will be so low that the air will be squeaky clean, albeit a bit radioactive.

      • (Score: 2) by mendax on Thursday May 08 2014, @03:02AM

        by mendax (2840) on Thursday May 08 2014, @03:02AM (#40798)

        Well, that is a positive. A pleasant prospect to look forward to.

        --
        It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
        • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:10AM

          by davester666 (155) on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:10AM (#40808)

          Yes, the future will be bright. Possibly even glowing.

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:42AM

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:42AM (#40766)

    There's an interactive smog simulator [marketplace.org] that simulates the appearance of large US cities at various Air Quality Indices.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:51AM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:51AM (#40769)

    So, imagine the air is clean.
    Do you want to go jogging? Go buy a pair of shoes every few years. Maybe sit outside at a restaurant and enjoy the day.
    .
    Now imgine that the air is really bad.
    You need to buy house filters, masks, house cleaner, car wash, car filters, doctor visits, cancer treatments, radiation equipment, hospital stuff, vacations far away, early burial services...
    .
    If you were poor, that's a wash (see that broken window thing). But if you had disposable income that you, evil person, were planning on saving (especially abroad), thank God pollution made sure you didn't bog down our economy by stuffing your mattress.
    Bonus: the extra growth you created will create more pollution! It's a virtuous cycle!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by broken on Thursday May 08 2014, @02:00AM

    by broken (4018) on Thursday May 08 2014, @02:00AM (#40784) Journal

    Data can be found on this page [who.int] (linked from article) in this spreadsheet [who.int]. Only PM10 and PM2.5 are included (PM = Particulate Matter). Carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and ozone are other common pollutants not reported here that could also give a city "unsafe air quality".

    Although high income regions have on average much better air quality than lower income regions, still 105 out of 379 reported U.S. cities exceed the safe limit for PM2.5. This is an annual average so even more cities (probably a significant fraction) will have at least one unsafe day. So be careful where and when you breathe!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:28PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @12:28PM (#40869)

      Fuck that shit. I ain't breathing.

  • (Score: 2) by hybristic on Thursday May 08 2014, @02:32AM

    by hybristic (10) on Thursday May 08 2014, @02:32AM (#40790) Journal

    I got a flyer at work saying that a few blocks will be shut down for a couple of days to spare the air. What's funny is there are a few crossfit gyms that do a lot of their workouts by the street inhaling all that crap.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:59AM (#40834)

      What's funny is there are a few crossfit gyms that do a lot of their workouts by the street inhaling all that crap.

      The real crap is not just the stuff next to a street. The small stuff (2um) floats everywhere. Close to street only has a bit more large particulates, but small stuff, that's everywhere.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:46PM (#40950)

    Wondering if this peak oil is real?
    maybe them buried oil-buckets are running dry and what
    they're pumping out now is the "junk" that has settled to the bottom
    over million of years?
    put that in a vehicle and it runs but with horrible pollution?

  • (Score: 1) by thoughtlover on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:20PM

    by thoughtlover (3247) on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:20PM (#41014) Journal
    Seriously... more billboards are needed [soylentnews.org]. I'm loathe to advertising, but what if these were pictures of the surroundings instead of annoying ads?
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:31PM (#41069)

    I've just attended the funeral of a young friend who died at home in the presence of family from a sudden fatal asthma attack.

    Many of us aren't aware that an attack can be fatal. As air pollution increases, there will be more such attacks.
    If you suffer from this condition and are feeling worse than usual, please get to your local emergency room. If you do have a bad attack, you are in the best place to get help.

    Maybe if more people become aware and take as many precautions as possible, the mortality rate will go down. There has been some research on this recently, and it appears that sadly the majority of deaths are preventable. More education is needed.