The public health challenges due to air pollution are majorly understated, given that 9 out of 10 people across the globe breathe polluted air (WHO, 2018). Globally, air pollution results in an estimated 7 million premature deaths yearly, with Africa accounting for 14% of these deaths. Nigeria is ranked the 10th most polluted country in the world, and has the highest number of deaths (114,000) due to air pollution in the continent (Health Effects Institute & Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2017). Also, in 2016, the WHO reported that Onitsha, Kaduna, Aba and Umuahia were among 4 of the 20 African cities with the worst air quality in the world.
Acute Lower Respiratory Infections, Lung Cancer, Stroke, Ischaemic Heart Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are some of the many severe health conditions linked to air pollution (WHO, 2016). Reports have also revealed that 14% of lower respiratory infections (asthma) in children are linked to air pollution. Individuals with lung diseases, outdoor workers, pregnant women, children under 5 and the elderly are most at risk of health conditions from air pollution, and are most likely to have reduced life expectancy (by 20 months) (IHME, 2019).
What would you suggest are effective ways to manage the health implications arising from air pollution? What are the causes of air pollution in your environment?