Air Pollution: Remains A Silent Killer in This Age

Air pollution kills an estimated seven (7) million people worldwide every year. World Health Organisation data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants

The environment and nature has been under siege from the activities of mankind that have threatened and still pose a serious threat to the continued existence of the planet. One environmental hazard that still remains a silent killer to this day is pollution

Pollution is the presence of matter or energy in an unusual or unintended place. Pollution can also be said to be anything that is released into the environment which contributes to the degrading of the environment. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines pollution as “the process of making air, water, and soil dirty; the state of being dirty.” pollution comes in different ways like air pollution, water pollution, and noise pollution. All these are a hazard to the environment.

Air pollution is a type of environmental pollution that affects the air and is usually caused by smoke or other harmful gases, mainly oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen. In other words, air pollution is the contamination of air due to the presence or introduction of a substance which has a poisonous effect.According to the World Health Organisation air pollution kills an estimated seven (7) million people worldwide every year. World Health Organisation data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. The World Health Organisation is working with countries to monitor air pollution and improve air quality. From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause about seven million premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.  The emission of unwanted air has continued despite statistics showing a very gloomy picture on the demographic graph the statistics shows a cause for concern and worry as well as concerted efforts from everyone in improving air quality and improve the aesthetic quality of the environment.



The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal voices its concern on the continued polluting of the ecosystem. Sustainable Development Goal Number 13 through paragraph 31 “calls for the widest possible international cooperation aimed at accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and addressing adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change”.Both paragraph 31 of Agenda 2030 and paragraph 91 of the Future We Want note “the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 °C or 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”. pollution has been identified as one such challenge which needs to be completely reduced to make the world a safer place.

Pollution has remained a hot environmental topic that has potential to destabilize the natural environment. The natural environment is home to natural vegetation, animals, crops, soil and water with humans inclusive. The presence of pollutants in the environment greatly compromise the health of the whole ecosystem.

Air pollution remains one of the greater challenges that the world faces in reducing unwanted emissions into the environment. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) fourth session in 1996 held substantive discussions on protection of the atmosphere. Commission on Sustainable Development fourteenth session in 2006 and fifteenth session in 2007 focused on a cluster of thematic issues, including atmosphere and air pollution. The aim of these sessions way to find ways of mitigating the impact of air pollution for the long term benefit of the world.

Protection of the atmosphere is a broad and multidimensional endeavour involving various sectors of economic activity. Many of the issues discussed in Chapter 9 of Agenda 21, on “Protection of the Atmosphere,” are also addressed in such international agreements as the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as amended, the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other international, including regional, instruments.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition report of 2018 to 2019 says that targeted measures could eliminate more than 60% of global black carbon (BC) emissions by 2030 with approximately 90% of the total BC mitigation potential coming from three global regions: Africa (1.1 Mt), East and SE Asia (1.0 Mt), and South, West and Central Asia (1.1 Mt). Household energy, followed by transport emission mitigation, provides the greatest Black Carbon reductions in all regions except for Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa where transport provides the greatest migration.

The greatest remains the commitment of governments around the world to honouring these international agreements in reducing pollution. The lack of serious political will is a source of concern and it is the most sure way of governments being committed to ending air pollution. The budgetary allocation from a number of countries shows that there is no greater and serious political will to the commitments of eliminating air pollution. Climate and Clean Air Coalition report of  2018-2019 encouragingly, several existing funds are in a position to finance projects, technologies, and policies that cut Short-Lived Climate Pollutant emissions. The private finance sector – hedge funds, banks and insurance companies – is also increasingly aware of climate change risks and the economic benefits of mitigation activities. The challenge is to create an environment where these sources of finance can be channeled to Short-Lived Climate Pollutant projects at a larger scale. The members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition needs to encourage more concerted efforts from all countries to reduce and eliminate the black emissions into the atmosphere which is the source of many deaths in the world annually. The private sector is doing their utmost best to reduce pollution and improve the quality of air in the world while governments are not all committed to the cause of reducing air pollution.

From the African perspective, the 2018 Numbeo pollution index records that Cairo, the Egyptian capital is the most polluted city in Africa. Cairo is closely followed by Casablanca in Morocco in second on the list. This Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. The biggest weight is given to air pollution, than to water pollution/accessibility, two main pollution factors. A small weight is given to other pollution types.

Air Pollution does damage the aesthetic quality of the environment caused by smoke, chemicals, fumes and dust that are discharged into the environment as result of human actions. Mining activities and the industrialization of countries have been cited as the biggest culprits when it comes to emissions of waste into the environment

Air pollution today remains a silent killer of many people in the world and still remains a health and environmental hazard that needs to reduced at all costs. Air pollution is continuous disturbing the aesthetic quality of the ecosystem.

Air pollution has remained a silent and deadly killer that is claiming millions of lives every year. Unwanted emission into the ecosystems should be reduced in order to maintain the aesthetic quality of the ecosystem



Numbeo Pollution Index of 2018

WHO on Pollution

Sustainable Development Goals number 13

Panneerselvam  A and Mohana Ramakrishnan (2005) Environmental Science Education. New Delhi; Sterling Publishers Ltd

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Report of 2018-2019

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply