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New research highlights considerable health benefits from reducing global factor: 'Almost 3,000 premature deaths were avoided'

"Even more deaths can be avoided through continued work."

"Even more deaths can be avoided through continued work."

Photo Credit: iStock

Cities around Sweden are experiencing significant health improvements from reduced air pollution, according to new research from the University of Gothenburg. However, many Swedish citizens are exposed to air pollution levels exceeding the World Health Organization's recommendations.

The study looked at how air pollution changed over time for six Swedish cities, covering the majority of the country's population, and found significant reductions in air pollution from dirty sources like wood burning and vehicles.

The research also cited improvements in air quality in other parts of Europe as contributing to the cleaner air observed across Sweden because air pollution moves with the wind.

"We estimate that almost 3,000 premature deaths were avoided per year between 2000 and 2018 in the six cities modeled in our study. Even more deaths can be avoided through continued work to improve air quality further," said Karl Kilbo Edlund, the study's lead author. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 7 million premature deaths every year are from air pollution.

Air pollution and rising global temperatures due to human activity go hand in hand as the fine particles that pollute our air come from human activities. Black carbon, the sooty material emitted from combustible engines and coal, plays a significant role in warming the planet because it absorbs sunlight so well.

Improving air quality will significantly reduce the risk of health issues associated with air pollution, such as lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and immune system disorders. Children, who are particularly susceptible to air pollution, will also benefit from fewer instances of asthma, birth complications, and infant mortality.

Some potentially incredible solutions are emerging around the world to combat air pollution. 

France is considering using cargo ships on the Seine River, which would help reduce the number of trucks on the roads and curb emissions.

A Minnesota startup designed green technology that can pull carbon dioxide from the air and either return it safely underground or turn it into commercial products.

You can take small actions right now to reduce air pollution and help cool our planet. Changing how you plan and take vacations is a great option. Opting for green travel choices like taking trains over flying, using public transport instead of driving, and walking or biking for short trips will all add up.

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