An estimated 7 million people face an early death each year from air pollution, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Among those deaths, 21 percent are due to pneumonia, 20 percent are from strokes, 34 percent are caused by heart disease, 19 percent are from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 7 percent are from lung cancer.
Toxic pollution affects the vast majority of the world's population, according to the report, with 9 out of 10 people exposed to dangerous levels of toxicity. The poor and other vulnerable populations are at the highest risk of breathing such pollution.
The WHO study is based on 2016 data — the most recent information available.
Southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean saw the highest levels of air pollution, according to the study.
Air pollution levels have remained largely consistent in recent years. But some areas of Europe and the Americas have begun to see declines in the concentration of air pollution, the study found.
That may be due to the fact that more governments are starting to pay attention to such pollution and are taking action, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO.
"The good news is that we are seeing more and more governments increasing commitments to monitor and reduce air pollution as well as more global action from the health sector and other sectors like transport, housing and energy," he said.