How Polluted are the World’s Cities?

Ambient (outdoor) air pollution database, by country and city (Excel data base, World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

Also discussed here:  Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in cities database 2014 (World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

And here: Air quality deteriorating in many of the world’s cities (Press Release, World Health Organization, May 7, 2014)

And here: Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health (World Health Organization, Fact sheet N°313, Updated March 2014)

And here: Top 20 most polluted cities in the world (Madison Park, CNN, May 8, 2014)

Today we review a report from the World Health Organization that presents the state of air quality in 1600 cities world-wide in an Excel data base that is easy to manipulate. Only 1/8th of the cities surveyed meet WHO guidelines for fine particulate matter (PM). Those that do better (examples Bogota, Colombia and Copenhagen, Denmark) do it by actively promoting cycling and walking. 88% of the 3.7 million premature deaths/ year because of air pollution occur in low and middle income countries and most of these are in the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. 7 out of the 10 most polluted cities with the highest levels of particulate matter (PM10) are in Pakistan (Pakistan: Peshwar, Rawalindi and Karachi) or India (Gwalior, Ahvaz, Raipur and Delhi) while all 10 of the least polluted cities are in the USA (mainly in the southwest). Even in regions such as Europe, where WHO guidelines are generally met, lives are shortened by 8.6 months because of exposure to PM.

pm in world cities

PM10: Fine particulate matter of 10 microns or less; Amr: America, Afr: Africa; Emr: Eastern Mediterranean, Sear: South-East Asia, Wpr: Western Pacific; LMI: Low- and middle-income; HI: high-income. PM10 values are regional urban population-weighted.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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