Safeguarding human health during urbanisation: The vital role for policies regulating air and noise pollution in developing countries

PEAK Briefing

Rapid global urbanisation and industrialisation are generating air and noise pollution that threatens human health. Research shows road traffic noise has been linked with cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, while air pollutants are shown to cause and exacerbate cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

Air pollutants also drive climate change, which increases respiratory disease, both via the direct effects of global warming and the associated changing weather patterns. In turn, climate change raises levels of airborne allergens such as pollen, which interact with air pollutants in complex ways, exacerbating respiratory allergic responses and reducing lung function.

But these impacts are not inevitable. By promptly adopting effective, evidence-based policies to protect air quality and manage noise levels, governments can mitigate, or even prevent, the harmful effects of pollution, climate change and noise on human health as their countries develop