The most important function for survival is breathing. Our bodies have autonomic processes set to breathe, breathing is crucial for all life. Our world circulates around air. Despite this, we haven't been doing enough to protect the air so we can carry out the most important part of human existence. Although we have made progress, our air supply is deteriorating at a faster rate than ever and that can be drawn to one big cause: pollution.
Without air, our world cannot survive. “Air pollution is slashing years from billions of people’s lives around the world and is a greater threat to life expectancy than smoking, HIV/AIDS or war(CNN)”
According to WHO, 99% of the world is breathing air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants. Unfortunately, low- and middle-income countries suffer from the highest exposures.
In these countries, people are, on average, losing 2.2 years of their lives (WHO). That number may be small now, but it poses a rising threat. As the world population rises each day, the number of people whose lives will be lost due to poor air is increasing as well.
This increasing number is creating a world where people are more susceptible to illness as a result of poor air quality.
In northern India, 480 million people are breathing pollution levels that are dangerous to health. In some parts of this region, including the cities of Delhi and Kolkata, residents could lose up to nine years of their lives, on average, if the pollution levels documented in 2019 persist (CNN).
However, there is some hope for the world. Efforts have been made and it shows. According to a report, currently, Americans are exposed to around 62% less particulate pollution than in 1970. Europeans are exposed to 27% less than two decades ago – and gaining four months of life expectancy because of it.
This growth has not reached all areas in the world yet. Pollution still poses a huge threat to
countries, especially those in Asia.