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WHO: Air Pollution Levels in Cities Worldwide Rising at ‘Alarming’ Rate

© AFP 2023 / FRED DUFOURThis file photo shows pedestrians wear masks on a polluted day in Beijing on November 30, 2015
This file photo shows pedestrians wear masks on a polluted day in Beijing on November 30, 2015 - Sputnik International
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Thursday that the global urban air pollution has been rising at an alarming rate.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to WHO, the highest levels of air pollution were registered in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia.

"Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health," Maria Neira, WHO director for public health, environmental and social determinants of health, said.

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Global air pollution levels grew 8 percent in 2008-2013, the WHO estimated after studying data from over 3,000 cities. It said pollution levels in low- and middle-income cities of Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia regions exceeded WHO norms by 5 to 10 times.

"At the same time, awareness is rising and more cities are monitoring their air quality. When air quality improves, global respiratory and cardiovascular-related illnesses decrease," Neira stressed.

Over a half of monitored cities in high-income countries in Europe, both Americas and the Western Pacific have reduced their air pollution levels by more than 5 percent in five years, WHO data showed.

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