State of Global Air (SoGA) Report 2024

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Air pollution is having an increasing impact on human health, becoming the second leading global risk factor for death, according to the fifth edition of the State of Global Air (SoGA) report.

About State of Global Air (SoGA) Report

  • It is released by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), an independent U.S.-based nonprofit research organization, in partnership with UNICEF.
  • The report provides an analysis of data for air quality and health impacts for countries around the world. 
  • It defined air pollution as a complex mixture including particles and different gases, with sources and compositions varying over space and time.
  • Highlights of SoGA Report 2024:
    • Air pollution has become the second-leading global risk factor for death, surpassing tobacco and diabetes and trailing only hypertension.
    • Among these, non communicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accounted for nearly 90% of the disease burden from air pollution.
    • Six out of ten deaths worldwide attributed to air pollution are caused by the tiny PM2.5 particle; the remaining two pollutants, ozone and household air pollution, account for 38% and 6% of deaths, respectively.
    • Diseases and ailments linked to air pollution claimed 8.1 million lives worldwide in 2021, with India accounting for one in four of these deaths.
    • India and China together account for 54% of the total global disease burden due to air pollution in 2021. In India, air pollution accounted for 21 lakh deaths, and in China, it caused 23 lakh deaths.
    • More than 7,00,000 deaths in children under five years were linked to air pollution. This represents 15% of all global deaths among children under five.
    • Lower respiratory infections (LRIs) are the leading cause of death for children under five
    • India recorded the highest number of deaths among children under five due to air pollution worldwide in 2021.
    • Air pollution in India was responsible for the deaths of 1,69,400 children under the age of five in 2021. This means that around 464 children died every day in India that year due to diseases caused by air pollution.
    • In 2021,nearly 50% (2,37,000 deaths) of all ozone-related COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) deaths were in India, followed by China with 1,25,600 deaths and Bangladesh with 15,000 deaths.

Q1: What is UNICEF?

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), originally known as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children and mothers in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1950, UNICEF's mandate was extended to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere. In 1953, it became a permanent part of the UN System, and the words "international" and "emergency" were dropped from the organization's name, though it retained the original acronym, "UNICEF". UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories and in the world's toughest places to reach the children and young people in greatest need.

Source: Air pollution accounted for 8.1 million deaths globally in 2021, becoming the second leading risk factor for death, including for children under five years