World Environment Day is being celebrated around the world with the theme of air pollution.

The United Nations initiative is celebrated annually on 5 June to raise awareness of the problems of environmental degradation.

According to the World Health Organisation, around seven million people die each year from exposure to polluted air, with 91% of the world’s population living in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits.

In Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency says the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution is estimated at 1,510 people and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease. 

This year, China is hosting World Environment Day.

"China has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically", said Joyce Msuya, Deputy Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

UN Environment says there are a number of simple steps people can take to combat air pollution, including using public transport, cycling or walking, composting organic foods, reducing red meat and dairy consumption and switching to high-efficiency heating.

For this year's World Environment Day, UN Environment has asked individuals around the world to choose an action that they will undertake to reduce air pollution while wearing a mask and post a photograph on social media using the hashtags #BeatAirPollution and #WorldEnvironmentDay.