Africa and Asia Continue to Battle Air Pollution

Indoor pollution continues to cause problems around the globe.

Nearly 3% of the entire global burden of disease is attributed to indoor air pollution. But while this poor air quality is causing major problems all over the world, it is especially bad in Asia and Africa.

According to Shanghai Daily, a new law has been proposed to regulate indoor air conditions in classrooms and in area schools because the children inside these facilities are in danger of health risks associated with poor air quality. Carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and PM2.5 particles have been found in Chinese schools and are putting the health of these students in jeopardy.

“That is the reason why students often feel drowsy after sitting inside the classroom for a long time,” said Huang Chen, a lawmaker and professor at the School of Environment and Architecture of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. “It is urgent to regulate the indoor air conditions for classrooms.”

Only a few private schools have focused on improving the air quality inside classrooms and Huang hopes local schools will be compelled to meet the quality air standards specified by his proposed law.

Scientists in Africa have discovered that the air pollution problem is even worse than they originally thought.

“It’s a very big problem in Africa,” said Carlos Dora, a coordinator for the World Health Organization’s Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health department. “We have to create more of the ground level monitors but I have no doubt that just by being in African cities it’s quite clear.”

Quartz reports that from 1990 to 2013, the annual number of deaths from outdoor air pollution significantly increased by 36% and indoor air pollution’s death rate — which was already at an alarmingly high rate of 400,000 deaths — rose another 18%.

Dora added that the solution to reducing these air pollution issues is difficult and complex. In addition to schools doing their part, urban planning committees, waste management, transport authorities, and many other agencies will have to work together in order to successfully combat the air pollution epidemic.

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