More than 90 percent of the world's population is in toxic air, and research is increasingly showing the profound effects on human health, especially on children.
"The world has dealt with tobacco and now it has to do the poisonous air for the" new tobacco ", which breathe billions every day," said Drs. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "Nobody, poor or rich, can escape air pollution, it is a silent public health emergency."
"Despite this epidemic of unnecessary, avoidable deaths and disabilities, a smog of complacency pervades the planet," said Tedros an article for the Guardian. "This is a crucial moment and we need to step up action to address this challenge urgently."
WHO will host its first global conference on air pollution and health in Geneva next week, including a high-level day of action Nations and cities are expected to make new commitments to reduce air pollution.
Children and babies develop the most by poisonous air, Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health and the Environment, with 300 million inhabitants Places where toxic fumes exceed six times the international standards.
"Air pollution affects us all, but children are the most vulnerable of all," she said, pointing out the links between toxic air and respiratory diseases, cancer and damaged intelligence. "We have to ask what we are doing to our children, and the answer I'm afraid of is shockingly clear: we are polluting their future and that is very worrying for all of us."
Tedros said, "Keeping the environment healthy is the key to health, and by purifying the air we can prevent or at least reduce some of the greatest health risks."
WHO works with health professionals to care for their patients Not only to help, but also to give them the skills and evidence to advocate health in policy decisions such as turning away from fossil energy and transportation.
"No person, group, city, country or region can solve the problem on their own," he said. "We need strong commitments and actions from everyone."
In the United Kingdom, air pollution is illegal in most urban areas, and ministers have lost the Supreme Court three times after receiving serious allegations of inadequacy.
The last government action plan, described by environmental lawyers as "pathetic", showed that air pollution was indeed much worse than previously feared
. Worldwide, air pollution causes more deaths each year than tobacco. However, the researchers believe that the damage known to be caused by air pollution, such as heart attacks and lung disease, is only "the tip of the iceberg".
The number of 7 million early deaths is certainly considered underestimated. It only includes particle pollution and the five most related causes of death.
Initial estimates using improved models indicate a total of 9 million particulate pollutants.
Daniel Krewski of the University of Ottawa, one of the staff of the more recent estimate, said: "This suggests that outdoor air pollution is a. This is an even more important risk factor for health than previously thought."
Every month there are new studies showing further damage to toxic air. Recent revelations include an "enormous reduction" in intelligence, millions of diabetes cases, and the first direct evidence of contaminant particles in maternal placements
The cost of lost lives and ill health is also a colossal economic burden: $ 5 trillion a year a report from the World Bank.
Combating air pollution by shutting down polluting power plants and switching to cleaner modes of transport such as cycling or electric cars has dual benefits, as it also addresses climate change.
Neira said in the face of overwhelming evidence of air pollution pollution, any politician who could not address air pollution would be severely condemned by future generations and the law.
"Politicians can not say in ten years' time when citizens will begin to bring them to justice for the damage they suffered, they did not know," she said.
"We all know that pollution causes great harm, and we all know we can avoid something, and now we have to act together and in a dramatic and urgent way." The Guardian UK