New air quality data reveal that nine out of 10 people around the world breathe highly polluted air, The Guardian reports. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that more than 90% of the world’s population lives in areas where the level of fine particulates, such as sulfate and nitrates, exceeds recommended limits. Although the level of these dangerous pollutants appears to be dropping in parts of Europe and the Americas, other regions have seen an increase in particulates, particularly Southeast Asia and the Middle East. WHO estimates that fine particulates cause the deaths of 7 million people each year, mainly in low-income countries, and says that “urgent action” is needed to reduce the burden of pollution in these nations.
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