The benefits of reducing air pollution are immediate and dramatic. Recent research published in the journal Annals of The American Thoracic Society found that reducing air pollution by eliminating or removing the source can have a substantial and quick impact which can come into effect within a few weeks. The report found that these measures were also cost-effective.
The research was carried out by the Environmental Committee of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS). The study looked at various air pollution interventions, looking at their outcomes and the time it took. The findings were striking. After a week-long ban on smoking in Ireland, there was a 32 percent drop in strokes, a 26 percent decrease in ischemic heart disease, a 13 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, and a 38 percent reduction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Similar benefits were observed when measures were taken to control air pollution in different locations, such as shutting down a steel mill in Utah (US), streamlining traffic in Atlanta, Georgia (US), and travel restriction in China. Even small measures like using clean cookstoves (Nigeria) had immediate and substantial benefits. The team also found that such measures were significantly cost-effective in the long-term. For instance, 25 years after the Clean Air Act in the US, the benefits exceed the cost by 32:1.