The 2014 WHO Report on Air Pollution

Following the World Water Day this past Saturday (March 22, 2014), the World Health Organization released its report on air - pollution in Geneva on Tuesday, March 25, 20104. According to this report, seven million people are estimated to have died in 2013 due to air-pollution related illnesses, both indoor and outdoor pollution. Accounting to one in eight of all global deaths, air-pollution is now seen as the largest single environmental risk and it is, according to the report, a ‘by-product of unsustainable policies in sectors such as a transport, energy, waste management and industry.’ 

Low and middle income countries are the most affected by air-pollution, with indoor pollution linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012, according to the report. The report estimates that 2.9 billion people live in homes that use wood, coal or dung as primary cooking energy source, and that poor women and children are the major victims of indoor air-pollution and spent much of their time "breathing in smoke and soot from leaky cola and wood cook stoves.”

Africa, with most low and middle income countries and great reliance on solid fuels for domestic usage, is highly affected by in-door pollution. A 2006 World Health Organization Report indicated that environmental risk factors accounted for 23% of all deaths (2.4 million people) in Africa in 2002 whilst a 2007 report by the same organization indicated that of the 800 000 estimated global deaths due to air-pollution, 40 000 of these were in Africa. 


  • Brigid Otieno from Kenya, a student pursuing a master’s degree in U.S. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy at the American University’s School of International Service in Washington D.C. 
  • Prudence Ukwishatse,  from Rwanda originally, works at the Institute of International Education in Washington DC and also co-chairs the Africa Discussion group with the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Association in Washington D.C. 


  • Tseliso Thipanyane
  • Wuyi Jacobs 

Useful Links

For WHO Air Pollution Report: