Reprenons notre souffle

BANGKOK – Les histoires effrayantes circulant à propos du brouillard mouvant en provenance d’Indonésie, du smog qui fait suite à la fête de Diwali dans le nord de l’Inde, et du retour de « l’airpocalypse » en Chine illustrent les récents problèmes de pollution atmosphérique en Asie. La pollution par les particules en suspension dans l’air extérieur, qui ne se limite pas à l’Asie, fait plus de 3,1 millions de victimes dans le monde chaque année, soit 5 fois le nombre de décès dus au paludisme et presque le double du taux de mortalité lié au sida.

Les polluants atmosphériques, et en particulier les particules fines (de moins de 2,5 microns ou environ l’épaisseur d’un fil de toile d’araignée), entrent profondément dans les poumons, d’où ils migrent dans le sang et sont la cause de maladies cardiovasculaires, de cancers et possiblement de naissances prématurées. Mais quelle est l’ampleur réelle de ces risques sanitaires ?

Les débats à ce sujet sont hélas souvent opaques. Une mauvaise qualité de l’air est souvent décrite comme ayant atteint un certain niveau d’un indice de la qualité de l’air ou ayant dépassé une norme de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé. Mais les populations seraient en mesure de mieux comprendre la situation si elle était exprimée en termes associés à des dangers plus familiers.

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