The World Health Organisation (WHO) has today released new estimates showing 7 million people worldwide died prematurely due to air pollution in 2012. This is more than double previous estimates, and confirms air pollution as the world’s most serious environmental risk.

These new estimates are based on greater knowledge of diseases caused by air pollution, and also better analysis of the effects of exposure of air pollutants on humans.

The data looked at both indoor and outdoor air pollution and found both to be big causes of premature deaths. Air Pollution contributes to the most deaths in low and middle income countries in South East Asia and the Western Pacific Regions.

Reacting to news from the WHO, our Campaigns Support Worker Julien Pritchard said:

“Breathing clean air should be a basic human right – it’s a scandal that poor air quality kills millions of people around the world each year.

“Tens of thousands of people die prematurely in the UK annually because of dangerous air pollution, which regularly breaches legal limits. In Birmingham alone air pollution contributed to around 530 deaths in 2013.

”Strong and urgent measures are needed to end this scandal, including action on road traffic, the main cause of most of the UK’s pollution. 

“With 25% of car journeys under 2 miles in Birmingham, we need sustained investment in walking and cycling, to make it safer and easier for people to leave the car at home.”