WHO slashes guideline limits on air pollution from fossil fuels | The Guardian
The WHO has cut its recommended limits for air pollution and urged nations to tackle dirty air and save millions of lives.
In the first update for 16 years, the guideline limit for the most damaging pollution – tiny particles from burning fossil fuels – has been halved. The new limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), mainly produced by diesel engines, is now 75% lower.
The stringent new limits reflect the large body of evidence produced in recent years of the deadly harm caused to people by much lower levels of pollution than previously thought. Air pollution kills at least 7 million people a year, the WHO said, while a recent study estimated 8.7 million early deaths a year from coal, oil and gas burning – 20% of all deaths.
Pollution cuts an average of two years from the lives of the global population, and up to six years in highly polluted nations such as India, making it a bigger killer than smoking, car crashes or HIV/Aids.