What's New :
Every country exceeds new PM2.5 annual limit set by WHO: Report
A new report found that no country in 2021 met the updated air quality guidelines defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Key findings of the report:
- Concentration of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) was found to be within WHO standards in only 222 out of 6,475 cities covered in the report by IQAir.
- The concentration in 93 per cent of the cities was 10 times the new guideline.
- This was the case in 48 per cent of India’s cities.
- India was among the top five countries with the highest concentration of PM2.5, with Delhi as the most polluted capital in the world.
- The city recorded an increase of over 14 per cent in the concentration of PM2.5 in 2021 compared to 2020.
- Dhaka (Bangladesh), N’Djamena (Chad), Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Muscat (Oman) followed Delhi in the grim list of polluted capital cities.
- Of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia in 2021, 12 were in India.
- Only the territories of New Caledonia, United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico met updated WHO PM2.5 air quality guidelines.
New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines:
- In September 2021, the United Nations health agency tightened the global air quality norms and lowered the annual concentration of PM2.5 to five microgram (μg) from 10μg.
- New WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) provide clear evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health, at even lower concentrations than previously understood.
- The guidelines recommend new air quality levels to protect the health of populations, by reducing levels of key air pollutants, some of which also contribute to climate change.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.
- It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The core function of WHO is to direct and coordinate international health work through collaboration.
- The main areas of work are health systems; health through the life-course; non-communicable and communicable diseases; preparedness, surveillance and response; and corporate services.
- WHO partners with countries, the United Nations system, international organisations, and civil society, foundations, academia, and research institutions.
- The World Health Assembly is attended by delegations from all Member States, and determines the policies of the Organization.
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