99% of the world is breathing poor-quality air, WHO says

99% of the world is breathing poor-quality air, WHO says

The World Health Organization said Monday that nearly everybody in the world breathes air that doesn’t meet its standards for air quality. The U.N. health agency called for more action to reduce fossil-fuel use, which generates pollutants that cause respiratory and blood-flow problems and lead to millions of preventable deaths each year.

About six months after tightening its guidelines on air quality, the WHO on Monday issued an update to its database on air quality that draws on information from a growing number of cities, towns and villages across the globe. It now includes over 6,000 municipalities. 

The WHO said 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds its air-quality limits and is often rife with particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, enter the veins and arteries, and cause disease. Air quality is poorest in WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia regions, followed by Africa it said.

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