Air Pollution in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Joint APSR/ATS Perspective.

Abstract

Industrial and technological developments have led to major economic growth in the Asia Pacific, but an unintended consequence has been an increase in illness associated with air pollution. Given the complementary mandates of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology and the American Thoracic Society, the organizations partnered to focus on the need for clean air. A task force was assembled with individuals who have expertise in the effects of air pollution or the development of professional society policy statements. A systematic search of the literature was performed on the respiratory health effects of air pollution in the countries of the Asia Pacific region, and relevant evidence was used to inform the statement. This Perspectives piece reviews the leading sources of air pollution in the Asia Pacific and their impact on respiratory health, and provides examples of successful actions by regional governments to curb the rise in air pollution. The task force calls on APSR and ATS members to address the air pollution epidemic that is disproportionately affecting the Asia Pacific through (1) research on the health effects of air pollution, (2) knowledge-sharing to monitor and report air quality trends, including in resource-poor settings, (3) leveraging medical expertise to demand clean air for respiratory health, and (4) managing and treating the health consequences of air pollution. Air pollution is a serious and growing cause of respiratory morbidity and mortality in the Asia Pacific region. Through collective action, we can bring about the necessary change to ensure healthy air for ourselves and future generations.