The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of rising air pollution in cities across the world, estimating that it is claiming the lives of seven million people every year.
“On average, the situation has deteriorated and increased the levels of air pollution by 8%. So the situation is getting worse,” Maria Neira, the WHO’s public health chief, “And we know that 80% of the urban population living in cities are exposed to very high levels of air pollution, and therefore, resulting on diseases,” she said, describing the figures as indicative of “a major, major public health problem.”
The dirtiest air was recorded at the Iranian city of Zabol, which suffers from months of dust storms in the summer, and the next four were all in India, namely Gwalior, Allahabad, Patna and Raipur. Among the common causes of air pollution are the high numbers of cars, especially diesel-fueled vehicles, the heating and cooling systems of big buildings, waste management, agriculture and the use of coal or diesel generators for power, according to the survey.