Seven million people die each year from illnesses attributable to air pollution, yet it has never had global recognition in the same way as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, and now there are growing calls from the health sector for that to change.

Relative to other health issues that have access to billion-dollar global funds, air pollution has a far greater health impact, said Christa Hasenkopf, the director of clean air programmes at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (Epic).

Pollution contributes to millions of deaths every year from conditions such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer or pneumonia. That exceeds the 630,000 who died of Aids in 2022, the 608,000 malaria deaths in the same year and even the 1 million who die annually as a result of diarrhoea.

Sunil Dahiya, a south Asia analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, said: “It’s a slow poison; you slowly move towards death and, because of the slow nature of this pandemic, we globally have not been able to respond to it the way we should.”

Less than 1% of international development finance and philanthropic funding goes towards air pollution, according to the Clean Air Fund. Chad, Iraq and Pakistan are the top three most-polluted countries…

…EPIC plans to launch a fund later this year to focus on data gaps. According to OpenAQ, just 38% of countries share real-time air quality data, so policymakers don’t have the evidence they need. Raising an annual $4m-$8m (£3.2m-£6.3m) from donors would make “a huge dent” in changing that, Hasenkopf said, adding that open data allows better-informed interventions.

Continue reading on The Guardian…

Areas of Focus: Environment
Definition
Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
Definition
Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...
Environmental Health
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Environmental Health
Energy and industrial processes introduce toxins into the environment. EPIC research is helping to educate policymakers and consumers on the social and economic costs of this pollution, and the potential...
AQLI
Definition
AQLI
Particulate air pollution is one of the most serious risks to human health globally. To help communicate those risks, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) converts particulate air pollution into...
Air Quality Monitoring and Data Access
Definition
Air Quality Monitoring and Data Access