Air pollution, release into the atmosphere of various gases, finely divided solids, or finely dispersed liquid aerosols at rates that exceed the natural capacity of the environment to dissipate and dilute or absorb them.
These substances may reach concentrations in the air that cause undesirable health, economic, or aesthetic effects.
Facts About Air Pollution
- Air pollution is made up of chemicals, particulates, and biological materials. Common components include, but are not limited to: nitrogen, sulfur, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, dust, and ash.
- Air pollution is caused by both human and natural contributors. Industries, factories, vehicles, mining, agriculture, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and wind erosion all cause air pollution.
- According to the Global Burden of Disease report (2013), air pollution contributes to more than 5.5 million premature deaths every year. Another report by the International Energy Agency estimates the number to be 6.5 million deaths per year.
- Children exposed to air pollution are likely to develop more slowly and have lower cognitive ability.
- Research has linked air pollution to multiple diseases: high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, acute lower respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, low birth weight, asthma, and cataracts.
- According to the WHO, 98% of cities in low- and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants have unsafe levels of air pollution.
- Of the top twenty most polluted cities in the world, 13 are in India and 3 are in China. Delhi ranks as 11th most polluted, whereas Beijing ranks as 57th most polluted. Here’s a full ranking of India’s cities with worst air pollution.
- Over half of India’s population—660 million people—live in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution.
- On average, Indians living in polluted areas will lose 3.2 years of their lives due to air pollution.
- Pregnant women who live in high traffic areas have a 22% higher risk of having children with impaired lung function than those living in less polluted areas.