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GENEVA (AFP) – International experts are warning that potentially lethal air pollution has boomed in fast-growing big cities in Asia and South America in recent decades.
While Europe has managed to drastically cut some, but not all, of the most noxious pollutants over the past 20 years, emerging nations experienced the opposite trend with their fast economic growth, scientists at the UN's meteorological agency said.
Their comments came ahead of World Meteorological Day on Monday, which this year has the theme "The Air We Breathe".
The World Health Organization estimates that about two million people die prematurely every year as a result of air pollution, while many more suffer from breathing ailments, heart disease, lung infections and even cancer.
Fine particles or microscopic dust from coal or wood fires and unfiltered diesel engines are rated as one of the most lethal forms or air pollution caused by industry, transport, household heating, cooking and ageing coal or oil-fired power stations.
In 2005, the WHO estimated that deaths rates in cities with higher particle pollution were 15 to 20 percent above those found in cleaner cities.
"Particulate matter is of great concern in cities," said Liisa Jalkanen, atmospheric environment research chief at the World Meteorological Organisation.
"In Asia many cities such as Karachi, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dacca, Shanghai, Beijing, and Mumbai they exceed all the limits."
"Also several cities in South America such as....
Manila has the same problem. Last year my bf was here and had to go to a hospital from the pollution. Many kids have breathing problems from the traffic. Some politicians don't care much. We need to unite and gain a voice here as well as many areas of the world. what happens in Tokyo, Los Angeles and Beijing affects all of us in some way
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