Air pollution rising at an ‘alarming rate’ in world’s cities

Air pollution rising at an ‘alarming rate’ in world’s cities

Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

2-fine particulate

While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels.

 

annual mean

 

According to the new WHO database, levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) are highest in India, which has 16 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.

China, which has been plagued by air pollution, has improved its air quality since 2011 and now has only five cities in the top 30. Nine other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, have one city each in the worst 30.

city2

 

For the larger, but slightly less dangerous PM10 particles, India has eight cities in the world’s top 30. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan each have two cities in the top 10. The true figure for the growth in global air pollution is likely to be worse because only a handful of African cities monitor their levels.

The most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO data, is Onitsha, a fast-growing port and transit city in south-eastern Nigeria that recorded levels of nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s – around 30 times the WHO recommended level of 20 micrograms per cubic metre.

Source: The Guardian

Date: June 2016

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