Air pollution causes millions of asthma attacks every year globally

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Air pollution is slowly easing in EU countries but still causes almost half a million early deaths each year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) said in its annual report published Monday, reports AFP.

The WHO report cited a case study that investigated whether exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy was associated with low birth weight in an integrated rural-urban, mother-child cohort in Tamil Nadu.

Over 90 per cent of the world's population suffers from toxic air and research is increasingly revealing the profound impacts it has on the health of people, especially children.

Washington Examiner: More than 600,000 children died from breathing polluted air in 2016, according to a World Health Organization report published Monday.

The report shows that, overall, the concentrations of PM2.5 were responsible for about 422,000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2015.

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Air pollution can also cause childhood cancers, asthma, poor lung function, pneumonia and other types of acute lower respiratory infection, the report said.

A new study finds that India's capital city New Delhi's average air quality is nearly seven times worse than in London during rush hour.

She said, "Air pollution is affecting all of us but children are the most vulnerable of all. But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of risky pollutants", Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO, said in the press release.

"It attains more importance in geographies like India where more than a million people lose their lives to the health emergency", Sunil Dahiya, an air pollution campaigner with Greenpeace India, said.

More than two million deaths occur in India prematurely every year, accounting for 25 per cent of the global deaths due to poor air quality.

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"In low- and middle-income countries around the world, 98% of all children under 5 are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines".

An increase in air quality index signifies increased air pollution and severe threats to human health.

The European study was an updated overview and analysis of the air quality across 28 European Union countries and 11 non-EU countries from 2000 to 2016, the most recent year for which data was available.

The overall percentage of those affected somewhat decreases; however, the hard particles, nitrogen dioxide and ozone concentration still appear to be the most risky for people. Residents celebrate by lighting lamps and bursting firecrackers, which have caused a sharp spike in pollution levels in previous years.

A long-delayed national plan to clean up the air in 100 most polluted cities in India, is yet to be finalised after it was panned by air pollution activists for being weak and failing to set time-bound targets.

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