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The State of Global Air Air Pollution and Health in Cities

Air Quality

New Report Details 2 Major Air Pollutants & Related Health Impacts In More Than 7,000 Cities

The world’s biggest cities and urban areas face some of the worst air quality on the planet, according to a new report published by HEI. The report, Air Quality and Health in Cities, released by HEI’s State of Global Air Initiative, provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of air pollution and global health impacts for more than 7,000 cities around the world, focusing on two of the most harmful pollutants; fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In 2019, 1.7 million deaths linked to PM2.5 occurred in the 7,239 cities included in the analysis. Cities in Asia, Africa, and Eastern and Central Europe saw the greatest health im­pacts from PM2.5 exposures.

In 2019, 86% of the cities included in this report exceeded the WHO’s 10 µg/m3 guideline for annual NO2 exposure, impacting about 2.6 billion people. While PM2.5 pollution tends to get more attention on known hotspots around the world, less data has been available for NO2 at this global scale.

The report, using data from 2010 to 2019, found that global patterns for exposures to these two key air pollutants are strikingly different. While exposures to PM2.5 pollution tend to be higher in cities located in low- and middle-income countries, exposure to NO2 is high across cities in high-income as well as low- and middle-income countries.

Read the full report and explore the interactive maps to learn more about air quality in your city, how it is changing, and the disease burdens associated with air pollution. The report was produced by the State of Global Air Initiative, a collaboration between the Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease project.

Courtesy of Health Effects Institute.

Images: screenshots of Air Pollution and Health in Cities

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