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UN: 80% of world’s city dwellers breathing bad air

That number falls to 56 percent of cities in wealthier countries

Baku. 14 May. REPORT.AZ/ Over 80 percent of the world’s city dwellers breathe poor quality air, increasing their risk of lung cancer and other life-threatening diseases, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report warned, Report informs referring to the Russian RIA Novosti.

Urban residents in poor countries are by far the worst affected, WHO said, noting that nearly every city (98 percent) in low- and middle-income countries has air which fails to meet the UN body's standards.

That number falls to 56 percent of cities in wealthier countries.

But, in a sample of selected mega-cities with a population above 14 million, New Delhi was the most polluted, followed by Cairo and Bangladesh's capital Dhaka. Crucially, key African centres like Nigeria's mega-city Lagos were excluded from the list because of the sparse availability of air quality data in many parts of the continent, WHO said.

"Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health," Maria Neira, the head of WHO's department of public health and environment, said in a statement.

The UN agency's latest air pollution database reveals an overall deterioration of air in the planet's cities, and highlights the growing risk of serious health conditions also including stroke and asthma.

The report, which focused on outdoor rather than household air, compared data collected from 795 cities in 67 countries between 2008 and 2013.

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