Majority of the World Exposed to Polluted Air

November 26, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. take its toll / teɪk ɪts toʊl / (idiom) – to cause damage or harm
Example: Working on the night shift is taking its toll on the workers’ health.

2. repercussion / ˌri pərˈkʌʃ ən /  (n.) – effect or result
Example: The children were warned of the repercussions of not following rules.

3. incineration / ɪnˈsɪn əˌreɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of burning something
Example: The factory eliminates waste by incineration.

4. wildfire / ˈwaɪldˌfaɪər / (n.) – a large fire that spreads quickly
Example: The wildfire in the area consumed a huge part of the forest.

5. non-communicable / ˌnɒn kəˈmyu nɪ kə bəl / (adj.) – cannot be transferred from one person to another
Example: Cancer is a non-communicable disease.


Read the text below.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that majority of the world’s population is exposed to air pollution.

In its mission to reduce air pollution, which is taking its toll on the health of millions around the world, the organization conducted a study to assess global air quality.

The study’s findings revealed that 92% of people reside in rural and urban areas that have dangerously high levels of air pollution. Most of these high-risk places are located in developing countries in Asia.

The report also suggests that air pollution is largely a negative repercussion of human activities, which include incineration of household fuel and waste, use of inefficient methods of transportation, and various industrial operations. However, it is also partly due to natural causes, such as wildfires and dust storms, which are strong winds with small particles that cover huge areas of land for some time.

Dr. Maria Neira [NAY-rah], director of the WHO Department of Public Health and Environment, stressed that excessive air pollution is a matter of urgency. Every year, over three million deaths in low- and middle-income countries are being attributed to toxins in the atmosphere. Ninety-four percent of these deaths are due to non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and lung cancer.

To improve global air quality, Neira is urging governments to create comprehensive regulations and to enforce them more strictly. She also suggested reducing the number of vehicles on the road, implementing an effective solid waste management plan, and promoting the use of renewable energy sources.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you feel that only 8% of the world’s population enjoys clean air?
·         Do you think that air pollution levels will decrease over time? How?

Discussion B

·         How will high levels of air pollution affect people’s lifestyle in the long run?
·         What can you do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of air pollution? Discuss.

November 26, 2016