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Clean Air Now <
Published 03rd December 2019


Air pollution is a grave risk that endangers the health of almost everyone in the world. It affects nearly every organ in the body, as well as our mental health and wellbeing. It is a leading risk factor for non- communicable diseases (NCDs) such as stroke, ischaemic heart diseases, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over seven million people die prematurely every year from exposure to polluted air. Most air pollution, and the associated health impacts and premature deaths, are preventable.

Research shows that commitment or investment can quickly pay for itself, and many times over, in terms of prevented NCDs, reduced health costs and economic burden, and will bring with it a suite of co-benefits for sustainable development. WHO recommendations should provide guidance to all levels of government, from national to local, to meet the WHO guideline levels for safe, healthy air quality, and must address the major sources of air pollution in different contexts and resource settings.

This briefing illustrates that actions taken around the world can bring some quick wins for health. Local, national and regional air pollution policies not only benefit air quality in cities, but also have important and immediate health co-benefits and are important for mitigating global climate change in the longer-term.