The most sobering statistic for populations is that based on previous studies, breathing polluted air was equivalent to smoking at a rate of 22 mcg/m3 of pollutants, equal to 1 cigarette. This included newborns and children, in whom exposure has been found to result in neuroinflammation and reduced cognitive development. In adults, it increases the risk of stroke by at least 5 times. Additionally, air pollution results in infertility, miscarriage, preterm and low-birth-weight infants, and congenital abnormalities. Up to 7 million premature deaths per year worldwide have been attributed to air pollution according to the WHO. This is why reducing air pollution and mitigating its effects is so critical and emergent.
Leaders from government and non-governmental organizations provided examples of solutions, trials, and collaborations to tackle this.