The World Health Organization says that 92 percent of the air humans breathe violates their quality guidelines, but there isn’t really much we can do about it.
Three million deaths each year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution, and indoor air pollution is just as bad. About 11.6 percent of all global deaths in 2012 “were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together,” says the WHO.
That’s surprisingly high, isn’t it?
“Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations – women, children and the older adults,” says Dr. Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at the WHO. “For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.”
According to the international organization, the main sources of air pollution include:
- Inefficient modes of transport
- Household fuel and waste burning
- Coal-fired power plants
- Industrial activities
However, these aren’t the only things contributing to air pollution, according to the latest reports from the WHO. Things such as dust storms, which are particularly prevalent in desert regions, can taint the air quality.
The WHO’s BreatheLife 2030 campaign lets you search by location to find out how toxic the air is in your area. According to the map, Milwaukee is safe according to WHO guidelines. Oddly enough, New York City has less air pollution than we do. Beijing, on the other hand, is more than 8.5 times over the “safe” level of air toxicity.
But in the U.S. alone, about 38,050 people die each year from an air pollution-related disease.
What Do You Think?
While many scientists agree that we’re past the tipping point for saving the air quality on Earth, are there any measures you’re taking to boost your indoor air quality and protect yourself and your family? Just so you know, there are some indoor plants that can make dramatic improvements to the air quality in your home — and as long as you don’t have a black thumb instead of a green one, you could make a $15 investment and reap long-term benefits.