Deaths from Urban Air Pollution
Estimates by WHO sub-region for 2000 (WHO World Health Report, 2002).
View a larger a version of the map.
Originally posted on TheCityFix’s sister site, Earthtrends, the article below gives a good overview of outdoor pollution, and also touches on transportation’s links to both the causes of, and solutions to, the problem.
The hazy skies over the 2008 Summer Olympics have placed Beijing’s air quality at the top of news headlines for more than a month. However, outdoor air pollution, whether in the form of visible haze or invisible ozone and carbon monoxide, is a problem in nearly every country in the world.
Outdoor air pollution alone causes an estimated 800,000 deaths each year (an additional 1.6 million premature deaths are attributable to indoor air pollution, the subject of a previous EarthTrends Monthly Update). In many urban areas, especially in the developing world, air pollution is the single greatest environmental threat to human health (WDI, 2007).
However, cities in both the developed and developing worlds that were once heavily polluted have been able to improve air quality to within safe levels, often dramatically. These cities’ success has often come from a combination of stricter standards, sensible regulations, and integrated transit solutions.