Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science

More Than 95% of World's Population Breathing Unhealthy Air, Says New Report (cnn.com) 93

More than 95% of the world's population is breathing unhealthy air and the poorest nations are the hardest hit, a new report has found. From the report: According to the annual State of Global Air Report, published Tuesday by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), long-term exposure to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths across the globe in 2016. The report says exposure to air pollution led to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and chronic lung disease, causing many of those premature deaths. It also says that air pollution is the fourth-highest cause of death among all health risks globally, coming in below high blood pressure, diet and smoking.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

More Than 95% of World's Population Breathing Unhealthy Air, Says New Report

Comments Filter:
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @08:05PM (#56455585)

    I am just wondering where to find those 5%. Any one with a clue?

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Southern Australians?

      • by muphin ( 842524 )
        i dont think theres 365 million people in Australia :p
        • Most rural areas, except where heavy industries reside; northern populations (Lapland, Iceland, parts of Siberia), lots of insular countries, etc.
          Numbers add up.

      • If Burt is in the elevator in the morning for the trip up, we are definitely breathing dirty air.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bradac_55 ( 729235 )

      And yet the USA has currently the cleanest air since the industrial revolution.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And yet the USA has currently the cleanest air since the industrial revolution.

        That's a pretty low bar. It'll be wonderful if we could stop burning shit and emitting shit.

        Peoples' health is suffering because business is basically transferring their costs onto the people. Why clean up their emissions when they can just spew it into the air and when regulation is mentioned just scream, "The costs to us! And jobs will be lost!"

        And in the meantime, the people are burden with the poor health and in the US the outrageous medical bills.

        Privatize the profits; socialize the costs.

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )

          Peoples' health is suffering because business is basically transferring their costs onto the people...he people are burden with the poor health and in the US the outrageous medical bills.

          Almost all of the US has clean air, except for the biggest cities. And the pollution there is primarily car exhaust, not businesses.

          The biggest things people can do to reduce the cost of healthcare is to quit smoking, lose weight, and exercise.

          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            Almost all of the US has clean air, except for the biggest cities. And the pollution there is primarily car exhaust, not businesses.

            [Citation Needed] that shows that car exhaust is the main source of air pollution in cities and not truck exhaust, ship/train exhaust, power plants, or agricultural emissions [gizmodo.com].

      • doesn't mean they are better now. I wish I could get more people to understand this.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No there is a definate limit to how good things can be. People have a need to struggle. If they are put in a world that is for all intents and purpose an Eden. They will inevitably start fighting with their fellow humans. They will start wars for perceived minor injustices perpetrated on their ancestors by another tribe due to a lack of complete equality. They will break into camps called democrats and republicans and spend all say on the internet complaining about how the world couild be more perfect i

        • Actually that's exact what that means. Maybe you'd like to reword that to be correct or make some point.
      • by Subm ( 79417 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2018 @07:35AM (#56457119)

        We exported many of our polluting industries to places that, lo and behold, now have poor air quality.

        • We exported many of our polluting industries

          ... Don't worry - The ORANGEutan-in-chief is forcing some American countries to come back to doing this in America.

          to places that, lo and behold, now have poor air quality.

          But that#s not a concern - only poor voters are likely to die in any significant numbers.

    • by orion205 ( 1130561 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @08:36PM (#56455699)

      I am just wondering where to find those 5%. Any one with a clue?

      Just look at the map on page 3 of the report [stateofglobalair.org].

      It shows most of Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia with the worst pollution. Countries at higher latitudes have much cleaner air. Canada, the United States (apart from the San Joaquin Valley and areas of the midwest), and large areas of Russia, Northern Europe, and Australia have pollution below the WHO guideline. Western Europe is pretty good, but Germany and northern France have particulate pollution higher than the guideline.

      • I am just wondering where to find those 5%. Any one with a clue?

        Just look at the map on page 3 of the report [stateofglobalair.org]. It shows most of Africa, the Middle East, and southern Asia with the worst pollution. Countries at higher latitudes have much cleaner air. Canada, the United States (apart from the San Joaquin Valley and areas of the midwest), and large areas of Russia, Northern Europe, and Australia have pollution below the WHO guideline. Western Europe is pretty good, but Germany and northern France have particulate pollution higher than the guideline.

        You got modded down for describing the map, and accurately answering the guy's question? Funky.

    • by lazlo ( 15906 )

      Maybe 5% of the world's population is just holding their breath?

    • Well, since TFA says 95% of them are in poor countries, that suggests the 5% are in places like the USA and EU mostly.

      Of course, TFA also says there were ~54 million deaths of all causes worldwide in 2015. Which is consistent with an average life expectancy of 140-odd....

    • and mansions. Why do you think so few of them live in the cities, and why do you think rich folks tend to live so much longer? It ain't all that clean livin', let me tell you.
    • International Space Station

    • This is a HUGE opportunity to sell clean air to the 95%.
  • by cirby ( 2599 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @08:22PM (#56455657)

    Aside from living in China (which is a nasty business by itself), a whole lot of folks get their "air pollution" by cooking over smoky wood fires in their houses, huts, or shacks.

    As mentioned above, the US is currently pretty darned clean, air-wise. I remember watching the smog roll over the hills from L.A. to the High Desert in the early 1980s. It looked like an overdone special effect.

    • The air may LOOK clean, but that doesn't mean it is. Just because you don't see smoke coming out of a tailpipe doesn't mean that there is no pollution.
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        The dramatic reduction in visble smog levels since the 1970s is mostly due to the elimination of pollutants that are invisible at the tailpipe. Stuff like NOx and sulfur oxides react with volatile organic compounds to produce the familiar brownish haze. Aerosolized particulates also aren't necessarily visible at the tailpipe but collected in the atmosphere they produce visible effects over long distances.

        So while it's true that you can't see most of the bad stuff coming out of your tailpipe, you can cert

        • The US *is* doing well, recent efforts to the contrary notwithstanding. Yet without also convincing the rest of the world to put pollution controls in place, we're still being affected. Air pollution doesn't just stop at border crossings. At current levels, this stuff is circulating the globe in harmful quantities.. There's virtually nowhere in the Continental US with an AQI below 20 most times of the year.

          I am currently living in a country that is *not* doing well, where AQI reaches over 400 on a weekly

    • but not in the cities. There it's smog, largely from cars stuck in traffic and (almost hilariously) idling in fast food drive thrus. You don't even have to question this. Apart from well publicized 'smog days' you can just drive outside any city and look at the smog cloud.
      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        Wouldn't the cars that are actually driving be putting out more of the pollutants than the idling ones? Idling is a relatively low-consumption state.

  • I sure hope the California air has the mandatory cancer label. The nerve of that air not being labeled. We can tolerate any number of illegals but on serious issues like Prop 65 we stand firm.
    • There are legions of skywriters paid to continually re-draw the prop 65 warning in the air.

    • Will the illegals be able to read the air labels if they're not in both English and Spanish? Will they be allowed to bring their own illegal Spanish-speaking air with them from across the border? I'm bringing these questions up at the next San Francisco City Council meeting! Surely they can pass an ordinance that will be binding for all 50 states.
  • cause it is so easy to breath in a healthy way; you breath in, then out, and repeat the process....

  • All RIGHT.

    So I farted.

    Sorry! (Geez..)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2018 @03:50AM (#56456745)

    Coincidentally, this was the subject of a very worthwhile podcast from the BBC: "More or Less". As with all statistics, one has to understand what lies behind - how did "they" reach these numbers, what do they mean by unhealthy and who are "they" anyway? It turns out that "they" are WHO or some other reasonably reliable source; the numbers as such are sound as well, and what they are about is one pollutant: particulates, and the criterion for whether the air is healthy is an official guideline number: 10 (what? for the sake of the argument, let's 'particles per m^3', but it isn't essential for the discussion here). So unhealthy air would be an average of >10 units - if it is 12, as in some cities, it is counted as unhealthy, and if it is 150, it's the same, in this particular statistic, although I suspect we can all agree that 150 is a good worse than 12.

    So, there is nothing wrong with the number, but one has to understand what it actually says; and unfortunately most news media have not bothered, but instead go on to explain how it shortens lifespans and make it hard to breathe - which is certainly true, as far as it goes. However, the effect is going to depend on exactly how bad the numbers are, and we also have to remember that what produces the pollution also in some cases contribute positively in other ways to people's health and quality of life: as an example, if London were to get rid of all motorised transport, it might add 30 days to people's life expectancy; on the other hand, that life expectancy now stands at somewhere in the 90es for millenials, mostly due to the technologies that pollute; how much would life expectancy go down, were we to abandon significant parts of technology? It is not a simple and straightforward decision to make.

  • That's me ... especially after I've had a beer and chile beans!
  • Now try getting an American or rich person to fly less, turn down the heating in the winter or cooling in the summer, or buy less manufactured useless stuff.

    Trivial changes that could reduce our pollution 90% without lowering anyone's quality of life are looked at as, "What do you want us to return to the stone age and live in caves?" as if riding a bike to work or wearing a sweater indoors in the winter undid all of human civilization.

    Everyone reading these words, including you, can do things today, here,

    • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2018 @08:39AM (#56457327)
      Ummm, no the rich cannot make "trivial changes" to their lifestyle, or ANY changes to their lifestyle, which would reduce the pollution being talked about in this study by 90%. The overwhelming majority of particulate pollution is emitted by actions of the VERY poor (I am not blaming them for it, just stating a fact). The way to reduce particulate pollution, which is what this article is talking about, by a large amount is to improve the life of the poor so that they are not cooking their food and heating their homes with solid fuel (coal, wood, etc).

      There are things done by the wealthy that could, and perhaps should, be eliminated which would reduce particulate pollution, but, on the world scale, only by a small amount.
    • by kackle ( 910159 )
      "Rich people"? Please. How many people replace their functional cell phone every few years? How many people revamp rooms in their homes just because they no longer like the style? 'Tube TVs - that's not hip; throw them all out and buy a smart one (which will only last half as long)!' 'Alexa is sooooo helpful; gotta have one of those! Hell, one for each room!' 'My commute is monstrously long; but what can I do about it?' 'And I sit in stop-and-go traffic, which I can avoid by going in early and doing
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      If you look at the map in TFA, the worst air isn't in rich people's countries. It coincides with parts of the world where burning down forests, coal generated power, indoor cooking over open fires and huge cites full of 2-cycle scooters are the norm. And smoking. So it's a third world problem that the third world has to step up and solve.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.

Working...