IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

State of Global Air (SoGA) report

24th June, 2024 Environment

State of Global Air (SoGA) report


Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The State of Global Air (SoGA) report by the Health Effects Institute and UNICEF reveals that air pollution is the second leading global risk factor for death, causing 8.1 million deaths in 2021.
  • The report underscores the significant health impacts of air pollution, particularly on children under five, and emphasizes the need for urgent measures to improve air quality and public health.


Key Points

  • Air pollution is now the second leading risk factor for death globally, following high blood pressure, as per the latest State of Global Air report.
  • The report highlights that PM2.5 air pollution, from sources like fossil fuels and biomass burning, contributed to 7.8 million deaths in 2021.
  • Children under five years old are particularly vulnerable, with 700,000 deaths linked to air pollution in 2021, making it the second leading risk factor for this age group after malnutrition.
  • Household air pollution, mainly from cooking with polluting fuels, accounted for 500,000 of these child deaths, predominantly in Africa and Asia.
  • Long-term exposure to ozone contributed to 489,518 deaths globally in 2021, with significant impacts on respiratory health, including 14,000 ozone-related COPD deaths in the United States.
  • The Global Burden of Disease study, a key data source for the SoGA report, provides comprehensive estimates of health impacts from various risk factors across 204 countries and territories.
  • The report emphasizes that nearly every person on earth breathes unhealthy levels of air pollution daily, indicating a widespread global health challenge.
  • Despite the grim statistics, progress has been made since 2000, with a 53% reduction in child deaths linked to air pollution due to improved access to clean energy and healthcare.

State of Global Air (SoGA) Report:

  • The State of Global Air (SoGA) report by the Health Effects Institute and UNICEF provides a detailed analysis of air pollution's health impacts, drawing data from the Global Burden of Disease study.
  • The report emphasizes the severe health consequences of pollutants like PM2.5, ozone, and NO2, highlighting their role in noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and asthma.
  • The SoGA report's findings stress the importance of policy interventions to improve air quality, reduce emissions from fossil fuels and biomass, and protect vulnerable populations, aligning with the goals of sustainable development and public health improvement.

Reports and Important Institutions:

  • Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study: Provides comprehensive health impact data used in the SoGA report.
  • Health Effects Institute (HEI): An independent nonprofit that produces the SoGA report.
  • UNICEF: Partnered with HEI for the first time in the SoGA report to emphasize the impact of air pollution on children's health.
  • The Lancet: Publishes the peer-reviewed data and findings from the GBD Study.




Q. Critically examine the health impacts of air pollution highlighted in the State of Global Air report.  Suggest policy measures at national and international levels to address this global health challenge.