Research published in The Lancet Planetary Health has found that air pollution in rural areas can be as deadly as in cities, contradicting the long-held assumption that only major conurbations suffer from such levels of pollution. The study analysed the impact of PM2.5, an increasingly common air pollutant caused by fossil fuel burning, wildfires and other sources, on health across the world. The research revealed that 90% of the world’s population is currently exposed to dangerously high levels of PM2.5. Air pollution is estimated to cause over seven million premature deaths each year.
Study Finds Air Pollution in Rural Areas as Deadly as in Cities
For years, people have assumed that air pollution is only a problem in big cities. However, new research has found that the air in rural areas can be just as deadly. This shocking discovery is a wake-up call for anyone who assumes they are safe simply because they live outside of a city. Here’s what you need to know about the study and its findings.
The research was published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health. It analyzed air pollution and its impact on health across the globe. The study focused on PM2.5, which is a type of air pollutant that comes from burning fossil fuels, wildfires, and other sources. PM2.5 particles are tiny and can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing serious health problems.
The study found that 90% of the global population is exposed to dangerous levels of PM2.5. The research also discovered that air pollution in rural areas can be just as deadly as in cities. In some cases, the air in rural areas was even more dangerous than in urban areas, especially in parts of Africa and Asia.
The Impact of Air Pollution
Air pollution has a significant impact on public health. Exposure to PM2.5 can cause a range of health problems, including:
- Lung cancer
- Heart disease
- Respiratory infections
- Low birth weight
It is estimated that air pollution causes around 7 million premature deaths each year. This makes it one of the leading causes of death globally. The study found that exposure to PM2.5 was responsible for 17% of all deaths worldwide in 2019.
What You Can Do
While the findings of this study are concerning, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and reduce your exposure to air pollution. These include:
- Avoiding areas with high levels of traffic
- Using public transportation or carpooling instead of driving alone
- Using a HEPA filter in your home to remove pollutants from the air
- Avoiding burning wood or garbage, which can release PM2.5 particles into the air
- Supporting initiatives to reduce air pollution in your community, such as clean energy projects and public transportation improvements
What is PM2.5?
PM2.5 refers to tiny particles in the air that are 2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter. These particles come from a range of sources, including burning fossil fuels and wildfires.
What health problems can PM2.5 cause?
Exposure to PM2.5 can cause a range of health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma, respiratory infections, and low birth weight.
How can I protect myself from air pollution?
There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from air pollution, including avoiding areas with high levels of traffic, using public transportation or carpooling, using a HEPA filter in your home, avoiding burning wood or garbage, and supporting initiatives to reduce air pollution in your community.
What can be done to reduce air pollution?
There are a number of initiatives that can be undertaken to reduce air pollution, including transitioning to clean energy sources, improving public transportation options, and reducing the use of fossil fuels.
What are some examples of clean energy sources?
Clean energy sources include wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy.
By taking steps to protect yourself and supporting initiatives to reduce air pollution, you can help to improve public health and reduce the number of premature deaths caused by this deadly problem.