NEW DELHI (DataLEADS/ANN) – From Bangladesh to Pakistan to Thailand and Indonesia, some Asian countries have the highest levels of air pollution, threatening food security and human health.
The WHO has recently announced ten threats to public health in 2019. Air pollution is at the top of the list – the biggest risk to public health. WHO highlights that around 90% of these deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, with high volumes of emissions from industry, transport, and agriculture, as well as dirty cookstoves and fuels in homes.
To understand the environmental health of every country, Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum jointly produced the Environmental Performance Index. The 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) finds that air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health.
The EPI ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.
In 2018, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan stand poor in EPI rankings.
Low scores on the EPI indicate the need for sustainability measures, especially cleaning up air quality and reducing GHG emissions. Only Taiwan and Japan score better than the rest of their Asian counterparts.
Overall Asian cities are facing unhealthy and hazardous levels of air pollution, with India having one of the worst air pollution levels. It has nine of the world’s 10 most polluted cities, according to the WHO statistics.
The EPI figures highlight the leaders and laggards in environmental health and draw attention to the issues on which policymakers must take further action.
Last year the WHO held its first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva. Countries made more than 70 commitments to improve air quality.
At the conclusion of the conference, participating countries agreed to reduce the number of deaths due to air pollution by two thirds by 2030.