Time reports on a new report from the World Health Organization on air quality in different countries: according to the results of a study of 3,000 settlements, 92% of the world's inhabitants live in areas where the level of air pollution exceeds the permissible norm.
Experts warn that this problem affects both megacities and rural areas. Pollution threatens most of all children and older people: according to the representative of the organization, "to stay healthy, people need to breathe clean air from the first to the last breath." The worst is the case for the inhabitants of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In developed countries, there are much fewer deaths from diseases associated with air pollution (a total of six million are recorded annually), but not only residents of third world countries are at risk: the level of pollution is exceeded in 60% of European cities, including Paris and London, but also in major American cities. The highest level of air pollution has been recorded in China.
WHO experts are urging governments to take action (for example, to limit the amount of exhaust gases emitted into the atmosphere) and called the current level of air pollution "a health emergency."