The most urgent environmental health concern of our time, air pollution is thought to cause 7 million premature deaths annually. Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air, which raises their chance of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
People who live in cities, especially the poor, frequently experience the worst effects of air pollution, which not only endangers lives but also fuels climate change. Numerous towns are acting to combat airborne pollution as a result of their awareness of these risks.
The survey examine five of those places in advance of the annual International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on September 7, which emphasizes the urgent need to improve air quality.
The data from www.iqair.com, which claims that an AQI (Air Quality Index) level of 0-50 is good and a level of 300+ or above is harmful, is the basis for the sources listed below. EPA's AirNow ranking is different from IQAir's global tracking of air quality, which uses information from its sensors in addition to official data from the EPA, UN, and other sources.
Seoul, South Korea
Surprisingly, the best city is Seoul, South Korea. Greater Seoul is home to 26 million people, therefore it is not surprising that the city is experiencing a crisis with its air quality. In fact, compared to other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Koreans have the greatest average exposure to the deadly particle known as PM2.5.
The concentrations of PM2.5 in Seoul are roughly twice as high as those in comparable large developed cities. The city declared that all fleets used for the public sector and mass transit would be free of diesel vehicles by 2025. While this is going on, a collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will examine the knowledge gained over the previous 15 years on improving air quality and assist in disseminating this knowledge to other towns in the area.
The best city with the cleanest air in Southeast Asia is Bangkok, Thailand. Given that Bangkok has some of the worst traffic in the world, it is not surprising that the city frequently struggles with a layer of smog.
Due to dangerous air quality levels caused by small particulate matter, or PM2.5, hundreds of schools were forced to close in 2020. The city has started a number of programs to combat carbon emissions as well as air pollution.
Launched in 2019, the Green Bangkok 2030 initiative seeks to cover 30% of the city's total area with trees, increase the amount of green space per person to 10 square meters, and ensure that footpaths adhere to international standards.
The project's first phase will see the opening of eleven parks and a 15 km greenway, all of which will encourage people to rely less on private cars and lessen pollution.
Incentives or laws promoting cleaner manufacturing, energy efficiency, and pollution reduction for industries are being adopted by more nations, according to the UNEP's 2021 Actions on Air Quality report, while laws prohibiting the burning of solid waste are also expanding. But there is still much work to be done.
Only 31% of nations have legal frameworks in place to control or combat transnational air pollution, and 43% do not even have a concept of air pollution in their laws. Most nations still don't have reliable frameworks for managing and monitoring air quality.
With over 90% of air pollution deaths happening in low- and middle-income nations, primarily in Africa and Asia, inequality is also a contributing factor to air pollution. Richer areas are less impacted by air pollution even within cities than poorer places.
Source: UNEP.org, iqair.com, ADB.org