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The country’s challenges to improve its air quality problem

The country's challenges to improve its air quality problem

Tomorrow marks the Inter-American Air Quality Day, This, since 2002, has the objective of making the population aware of the consequences and adversities that air pollution represents in the territories of the region.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that each year the exposure to air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths and causes the loss of many other years of healthy life.

According to the organization, the health risks of air pollution are associated with PM10 and PM2.5 particles (dust, soot, smoke and aerosol). These are generally found suspended in the air and are emitted by diesel vehicles, burning of residues and crops; and coal-fired power plants.
For its part, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ensures that PM10 are particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter that can be inhaled and accumulate in the respiratory system. Also, PM2.5 are particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and are commonly known as “fine particles”.

According to the entity, these pose a greater risk to health, since they can lodge deep in the lungs.

According to the entity, based on the studies carried out, the consequences of the existence of these particles translates into in health conditions in respiratory infections, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and lung cancer.

Regarding the costs of pollution, according to IQair and Greenpeace, for 2020 air pollution was estimated for the five most populous cities in the world throughout the year in terms of loss of life and productivity.

The result showed that between Tokyo, New Delhi, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City there were almost 200,000 deaths filed and $106 billion lost in 2020 alone.

Likewise, these five cities represent only 1.7% of the world population, which indicates the risk of the situation.

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Colombian case

According to IQair, in its latest study with an update for 2021, the The average concentration of PM2.5 in the country is 2.8 times the annual WHO air quality guideline value. This reading places Colombia in a range of “moderate” contamination.

Likewise, according to the entity, the main causes of air pollution in Colombia would be the emissions and gases emitted by heavy vehicles such as tractor trailers, trucks and buses; which work with obsolete engines, which run on fossil fuels such as diesel or lower quality fuel.
Compared to the average air quality indicator US Air Quality Index, the country in the ranking is positioned at number 72, with a moderate quality. According to the organization, Medellin is the most polluted citywhere the concentration of PM2.5 is currently 4.2 times the annual WHO air quality reference value.

Similarly, Envigado, Antioquia, where the concentration of PM2.5 is currently 7.8 times the WHO reference value.

Diana K. Rodriguez T.

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