The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a warning that air pollution is far more harmful than previously assumed, as it lowers the maximum allowable amounts of essential pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide. Air pollution, according to the World Health Organization, is on par with smoking and poor eating habits. It is urging its 194 member states to reduce emissions and take action on climate change before the COP26 meeting in November. Decade after decade, the limits for what is deemed a tolerable amount of pollution are being lowered.

Toxic particles and gases can cause harm to humans at much lower concentrations than previously thought, which is bad news for patients with heart and lung issues. The UK’s regulation limits for the most harmful pollutants are now four times higher than the WHO’s maximum levels as a result of the changes. The issue is that the most harmful pollution, small particles that can enter the lungs, is extremely difficult to eliminate. Pollution is caused by vehicle emissions and gas central heating.

It will be tough to avoid pollution if you live in a metropolis. Pollution in the air has been linked to heart disease and stroke. It can also impair a child’s lung development and aggravate asthma. According to the WHO, “improving air quality can help with climate change mitigation measures while decreasing emissions will help with air quality.”