How do we tackle air pollution for healthy people and a healthy planet?
Climate change and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are two defining challenges of the 21st century, each posing significant threats to health and sustainable development. Globally, air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths each year, including more than 5 million caused by NCDs related to air pollution (1). This makes air pollution the second leading cause of deaths from NCDs.
The WHO estimates that 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures (2). Worldwide, 1.8 billion people under the age of 15 breathe air that is so polluted that it risks their health and development (3). Children and young people are more affected by air pollution than adults, and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to changes in brain structure which may disrupt learning and cognition. In addition to cardiovascular- and respiratory-related NCDs, evidence is emerging of other effects of air pollution, such as diabetes, neurological development issues in children and neurological problems in adults, according to WHO (4).
As part of its response to these issues, AstraZeneca is proud to support the Lead2030 Challenge for SDG 3. This Challenge welcomed scalable, youth-led solutions that tackle the causes of air pollution to improve the long term health of young people.
About Breathe Mongolia
Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition (Агаарын Харуул) is a non-profit organisation working to end Mongolia’s air pollution crisis. Their passionate and dedicated team is on a mission to arm people with the resources to fight air pollution on the ground and through policy. Breathe Mongolia creates bilingual digital spaces and tools to address the lack of a centralised source for quality information and insight into the air pollution landscape in Mongolia. In doing so, Breathe Mongolia aims to:
- Educate the public so that they can protect themselves and their loved ones.
- Build a community of allies to foster cooperation between those working to fight the air pollution crisis.
- Hold decision-makers and policymakers accountable by monitoring policies.
Through this strategy, Breathe Mongolia hopes to prompt behavioral changes and policy improvements that uphold the fundamental human right to breathe clean air. The team’s vision for their work is a clean, sustainable, and prosperous Mongolia.