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New WHO global air quality standards released

This week the World Health Organisation released new 2021 global air quality guidelines. This is the first update in fifteen years. The guidelines recommend reductions in levels of key air pollutants (including nitrogen, PM.25 and PM10). The guidelines highlight that there is now a much stronger body of evidence to show how air pollution affects different aspects of health at even lower concentrations than previously understood. These new guidelines should challenge Australian policy makers to review the current particulate matter levels of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (NEPM). For example, the PM2.5 level of the NEPM for a 24 hour period is 25ug/m3 while the new guidelines set levels at 15 ug/m3. These guidelines are good news for public health and for addressing climate change but only if our governments act on them. To find out more you can read the report and/or see the links to some expert analysis on the new guidelines.

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