NEW DELHI (Hindustan Times): New data on deadly levels of air pollution in cities across the globe are scheduled to be released soon by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose top public health expert has already called it a global “public health emergency” that involves heavy costs on society.
Air pollution in cities such as Delhi and Beijing is killing millions of people and threatened to overwhelm public services in countries across the globe that will have major financial implications for governments, the Geneva-based organization said.
New WHO figures scheduled for release in February are expected to show that air pollution has worsened since 2014 in hundreds of already blighted urban areas. The data is taken from 2,000 cities.
“We have a public health emergency in many countries from pollution. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with horrible future costs to society,” said Maria Neira, head of public health at the WHO, told The Observer.
She added: “Air pollution leads to chronic diseases, which require hospital space. Before, we knew that pollution was responsible for diseases like pneumonia and asthma. Now, we know that it leads to bloodstream, heart and cardiovascular diseases, too — even dementia.”
“We are storing up problems. These are chronic diseases that require hospital beds. The cost will be enormous.”