This month, all eyes of the global clean air movement were on the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which resulted in a long overdue agreement by governments to transition away from fossil fuels. COP28 also included its first-ever health day and related health commitments (which we analyse here). You can also read our response to the outcomes and our key takeaways from COP28.

While a lot global attention may have been turned towards COP28, we highlight all the other news and efforts to tackle air pollution around the world from the last month.

Air pollution from fossil fuels ‘kills 5 million people a year’

A recent modelling study published in the BMJ reveals that of more than 8 million deaths worldwide from outdoor air pollution, 61% are linked to fossil fuels. Air pollution resulting from the use of fossil fuels in industry, power generation, and transportation is responsible for 5.1 million avoidable deaths annually worldwide. The findings suggest that transitioning away from fossil fuels could have a more significant impact on reducing mortality than previously reported.

The impact of toxic air on mental health in Rome

A new study in Rome by the Lazio regional health service explores the link between higher air pollution levels and mental conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression. Examining a population of less than 1.7 million urban residents with various covariates, researchers discovered significant links between air pollutants and higher risks of schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders, supported by drug prescription patterns and confirmed by multiple sensitivity analyses.

1 billion people don’t have access to real-time data about the air they breathe

A report by the University of Chicago highlighting air quality data gaps reveals which countries could benefit from small, strategic investments in air pollution monitoring. A small global investment, ranging from $4 to $8 million annually, in air pollution monitoring and data programmes could make a significant difference to 838million people living in countries with high potential for national-level pollution improvements.

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Areas of Focus: Air Quality Monitoring and Data Access
Definition
Air Quality Monitoring and Data Access