9 out of 10 people are affected by bad air worldwide. Picture: Pixabay

Durban - Why are seven million people dying each year from air pollution, and what can be done to stop this? 

Answering this question will form part of the discussions at the first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, to be held at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva next week.

Increasing data shows that more and more people are affected by bad air quality. The latest figures show an alarming trend - nine out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants, and WHO says that air pollution in most cities exceeded their recommended air quality levels.

“Up to a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution,” said WHO in a statement.

The conference is being held in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).