The following article is the first in a three-part series submitted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) ahead of World Environment Day 2019, which will be celebrated on June 5. These articles focus on the National Environmental Policy, waste recycling and biodiversity.
There is growing recognition worldwide linking the deterioration of ambient air quality to significant impacts on human health. New data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that nine out of ten people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, resulting in a wide range of health effects.
The WHO also estimates that around seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Since poor air quality can have such significant health impacts, a system for monitoring and real-time reporting on air pollutants is key to safeguarding those who are most vulnerable.