What are the main causes?
- Combustion of oil, coal and other materials (cars, dirt from roads, forest fires, power plants, waste incineration and heating)
- Mass livestock farming ("exhaust fumes" from farm animals)
- Volcanic eruptions can also contribute to higher particulate matter levels in the atmosphere.
Air pollution is particularly severe in megacities such as Delhi (India), Karachi (Pakistan) or Narayanganj (Bangladesh).
Worldwide, 93% of children under the age of 18 live in regions where particulate matter levels exceed the prescribed limits. In Africa and eastern Mediterranean countries like Turkey, it is even almost 100%. The guideline values come from the WHO. They also say that air pollution shows above all that poorer countries and industrial nations are much more at risk than high-income countries.
According to the WHO, air polluted by fine dust, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and suspended particles led to the premature death of more than half a million children under the age of five worldwide in 2016. The authors of the report also write that children account for 9% of all deaths caused by air pollution.