The World Health Organization’s Air quality guidelines (AQG) serve as a global target for national, regional and city governments to work towards improving their citizen’s health by reducing air pollution.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 7 million premature deaths every year due to the combined effects of outdoor and household air pollution– with millions more people falling ill from breathing polluted air. More than half of these deaths are recorded in developing countries.
Air pollutants measured include PM2.5 and PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter of equal or less than 2.5, also called fine, and 10 micrometre respectively), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can penetrate through the lungs and further enter the body through the blood stream, affecting all major organs.
Exposure to PM2.5 can cause diseases both to our cardiovascular and respiratory system, provoking, for example stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The WHO Air quality guidelines recommend levels and interim targets for common air pollutants: PM, O3, NO2, and SO2
Recommended 2021 AQG levels compared to 2005 air quality guidelines