This map shows air pollution levels in 1,100 cities around the world

Air pollution map WHO
Public Domain Map of global air pollution compiled by the World Health Organisation

Just yesterday, we wrote about the World Health Organization's new categorization of air pollution as "carcinogenic to humans". The map above was created by the WHO to show particulate matter (PM) pollution around the world, measuring specifically PM10, or particulates with a diameter of 10 micrometers.

The database contains results of urban outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1100 cities in 91 countries. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns).

The database covers the period from 2003 to 2010, with the majority of values for the years 2008 and 2009. The primary sources of data include publicly available national/subnational reports and web sites, regional networks such as the Asian Clean Air Initiative and the European Airbase, and selected publications. The database aims to be representative for human exposure, and therefore primarily captures measurements from monitoring stations located in urban background, urban traffic, residential, commercial and mixed areas.

The world's average PM10 levels by region range from 21 to 142 ug/m3, with a world's average of 71 ug/m3. (source)

As you can see, North-America is doing relatively well, Europe isn't doing as well (probably in part because diesel is more popular as a source of fuel), Asia and most of the Middle-East ares doing pretty badly, and the worst cities are in India, Iran, and Pakistan.

You can see a bigger version of the map here.

diesel exhaust fumes truck photo


See also: WHO now puts air pollution in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium!

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