Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air daily, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). That means 91% of the world’s population are living in places where air quality exceeds guideline limits.

Air pollution is thought to directly cause the deaths of around 7 million people per year, mostly in Asia and Africa.25% of heart disease, 24% of strokes, and 43% of lung disease and lung cancer deaths could be “attributed to air pollution”, according to WHO.

Cities in India and China accounted for many of the worst culprits, but Europeans are also affected by the phenomenon. Exposure to particulate matter (PM) has decreased the life expectancy of every person on the continent by an average of almost 1 year, mostly due to increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and lung cancer, according to WHO.

The organisation also said that if air pollution in European cities was reduced below the air quality guideline levels, people would live longer — in some cases by almost 2 years.

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