Barcelona would avoid 1,500 deaths a year if it complied with the WHO pollution limits

Almost 100% of the human beings living in big cities live above the pollution acceptable, according to the scale of the World Health Organization (WHO). Known the catastrophe, analyzed these days greatly in the glasgow summit, the metropolises have already begun to take action on the issue of the climate crisis to try to lower that disturbing percentage. In short, to try to save lives. According to a recent ISGlobal study, if the big ones European concentrations comply with the new requirements set by the WHO regarding suspended particles and nitrogen dioxide, it could avoid 114,000 more premature deaths, of which 1,554 correspond to Barcelona. The Catalan capital, and its metropolitan area, occupies the sixth place in this mortality rate of the cities of the EU.

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Last January, this same body already presented a study based on the current WHO requirements (established in 2005). In September, however, the international demands on pollution, although they have not yet been incorporated into the community framework. And they better give some margin, because nobody is in the green zone. Regarding NO2, the maximum goes from 40 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter (the EU coincides with those 40 cap, for now), while fine particles are reduced from 10 to 5 micrograms per cubic meter (the EU standard has as ceiling 25).

In January it was reported that both levels set by the WHO, if achieved, could prevent 52,113 deaths. With the new limit, that number rises to 166,218 fewer deaths. The difference between one and the other gives that updated number of 114,105. “Although there is no safe exposure threshold below which atmospheric pollution become safe, these new results show how the new WHO global recommendations on air quality offer a I mark much better to protect human health and avoid a large number of deaths“, says the ISGlobal researcher Sasha Khomenko, first author of the study. For all these reasons, this body urges the EU to assume as its own, and to assume it as mandatory, the new world health directive.

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