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Air Pollution in 2019: the Numbers

Air Pollution in 2019: the Numbers

On June 5, the United Nations celebrates World Environment Day. Each year, the goal is to encourage people to take action on a particular topic. This year’s theme is “Air pollution”.

3 Million
deaths result of exposure to ambient air pollution (per year)

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 3 million people die from complications linked to air pollution each year. The number takes into account deaths related to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children. Outdoor air pollution is responsible for 43% of all deaths and disease from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and for 29% of all deaths and disease from lung cancer.

Source: Ambient air pollution: A global assessment of exposure and burden of disease; WHO; 2016

The absolute number of deaths attributed to outdoor air pollution by country from 1990 to 2017. Source: OurWorldInData

90%
of people breathe air that does not comply with the WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

In 2017, about 90% of the population lived in areas that exceed the WHO guidelines for PM 2.5 (tiny air pollutants that are two and one-half microns or less in width and travel to the respiratory tract). The highest annual exposures were in South Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Source: State of Global Air; HEI and IHME; 2019

24%
of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide come agriculture, forestry and other land-use.

Source: WorldEnvironmentDay; retrieved on June 5, 2019

23%
is the transport’s share of energy-related CO₂ emissions

Source: Tracking Clean Energy Progress; International Energy Agency; 2017

24%
of the global power output is generated by renewable energies

Source: Tracking Clean Energy Progress; International Energy Agency; 2017