Sunday, 20 May 2018

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The "Invisible Killer": the air we breathe

 Cycling, part of BreatheLife May challenge

Nine out of 10 people around the world are breathing air containing high levels of pollutants, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, calling for dramatic action against pollution that is blamed for more than 7 million deaths a year.

The main culprit, exposure to fine particles in polluted air, which penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing health issues including lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory infections. Pollution is now the fourth leading reason for premature deaths in 2016.

The trend is particularly acute in low- and middle-income countries across Africa and Asia, WHO said, as well as some eastern Mediterranean and South American nations. These regions account for more than 90 percent of all air pollution-related deaths. In cities in high-income European countries, air pollution has been shown to lower average life expectancy by between two and 24 months, depending on pollution levels, WHO said.

BreatheLife social media card

One initiative to help reduce air pollution is the 'BreatheLife' initiative. A marathon for clean air, the 'BreatheLife Challenge' is the frst in a  series of campaigns to mobilize citizens to act in their own interests, for better air quality and better health. The initiative wants to rally people to walk, bike and use public transport to clean the air and to take a pledge to reduce air pollution emissions by “a marathon a month”— the equivalent of 42 kilometers or 26 miles of car use.

Breathe Life are inviting you to help promote the challenge online. You can use this guide to get tips, messages and ideas on what you or your organization can do to help.

For more information: http://breathelife2030.org/

 

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