Everyone needs clean air to survive, yet somehow it is not an internationally recognized human right. That probably has something to do with the fact that over half of the world’s population live in areas where they breathe in toxic air. Altogether, that means there are more than 3.5 billion people inhaling dangerous air into their lungs on a daily basis.
A lot of present day discussions about pollution focus on the long-term consequences that are in store thanks to climate change. While those discussions are certainly important, the truth is that we don’t need to make predictions about future environmental catastrophe to see the harms of pollution – those harms are already here.
The Environmental Protection Index (EPI) track changes – both improvements and regressions – on a number of important environmental issues. Air that is unsafe to breathe is one area where researchers see conditions getting alarmingly worse.