Most people think of air pollution as strictly a health issue. The reality is that dirty air affects climate, water, agriculture and renewable energy systems.
Sustainable Development Goal 3
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
The world has made significant strides in curbing child and maternal mortality and infectious diseases, but many other conditions continue to threaten world health.
Road traffic deaths claim 1.35 million lives a year. With traffic injuries as the leading cause of death for people aged 5-29 years, road safety is a global public health issue. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists account for 90% of these deaths in low- and middle-income countries. Meanwhile, air pollution is the top environmental health risk, linked to more than 7 million premature deaths every year. Diet-related chronic diseases, such diabetes and heart disease, are becoming prevalent, even in low-income developing countries.
WRI’s work on health and road safety focuses on sustainable mobility and road safety, with the goal of reducing road traffic deaths (SDG3.6). WRI launched Sustainable and Safe, our joint guidance with the World Bank, on the “Safe System” approach, which shifts responsibility for safety from road users to the system designers. We advocate for mass transportation, walking and biking as the healthiest and most sustainable modes of mobility. Together with key partners, we work in Africa, Asia and Latin America to reduce traffic deaths by creating safer streets.
WRI’s air quality work uses analysis and advanced data technologies to identify the site-specific origins of air pollution, providing evidence that will drive action for cleaner air (SDG3.9). The sources and causes of air pollution are complex, varying between places, across seasons and over time. WRI is working to shift the conversation from how bad the air is to what’s causing pollution and what can be done about it.
Lastly, our Better Buying Lab cooks up cutting edge strategies to promote healthy and sustainable foods. Launched in August 2016, the Lab brings together experts in consumer research, behavioral economics and marketing strategy—along with companies in the food industry—to research, test and scale new strategies that help consumers select plant-based foods, saving money and improving health.
Air pollution is bad for your health—most people know that. But did you know it's also responsible for lower crop yields, reduced solar energy generation and changes in rainfall?