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The Global South is the epicenter of poor air quality, which suffocates and kills the most vulnerable

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on El Pais or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The newly published Air Quality of Life Index (AQLI) from the University of Chicago indicates air pollution reduces life expectancy by up to seven years in countries like Bangladesh, which globally kills as much as tobacco and surpasses deaths from alcohol, traffic accidents, and AIDS
• In response to the growing threat and to highlight global inequality in addressing the issue, the UN declared September 7 as International Clean Air Day for Blue Skies, and the WHO plans a global meeting on air pollution in 2024

🔭 The context: The same report highlights that countries with severe pollution often lack tools for air quality management, with only 6.8% of Asian and 3.7% of African governments providing air quality information
• The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that seven million premature deaths annually are linked to air pollution and 94% of global citizens breathe air below the quality standards

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: If air quality doesn't improve, global citizens will lose an average of 2.3 years of their lives, with vulnerable populations at higher risk, as pollution's detrimental effects, including harming fetal brains, continue to emerge in research

⏭️ What's next: As air quality deteriorates, deaths due to outdoor air pollution are projected to surge by 50% by 2050; In response, the WHO will host its second global meeting on air pollution and health in Ghana by October 2024

💬 One quote: “We are talking about an invisible killer and the major public health problem of our time” (María Neira, the director of WHO’s Department of Public Health and Environment)

📈 One stat: Air pollution's economic impact is also significant; in 2019, costs linked to pollution equaled 6.1% of the global GDP, amounting to around $8.6 trillion

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