Most people globally, some 99% of the world's population, breathe air that exceeds World Health Organization (WHO) air quality limits, new data shows, the UN agency said.

Iran PressEurope: The statistical findings have prompted WHO to highlight the importance of curbing fossil fuel use and taking other tangible steps to reduce air pollution levels.

Almost the entire global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, and threatens their health.  A record number of over 6000 cities in 117 countries are now monitoring air quality, but the people living in them are still breathing unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, with people in low and middle-income countries suffering the highest exposures.

Released in the lead up to World Health Day on April 7, of which the theme this year is ‘Our planet, our health’, the WHO data has taken, for the first time, ground measurements of annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a common urban pollutant and precursor of particulate matter and ozone.

It also includes measurements of particulate matter with diameters equal or smaller than 10 μm (PM10) or 2.5 μm (PM2.5). Both groups of pollutants originate mainly from human activities related to fossil fuel combustion. 219