Air pollution is a serious problem the world is facing today. But how serious is this problem?
A new study by a team of scientists led by Monash University in Australia has found that almost no place on Earth is safe from unhealthy air.
About 99.82% of the world’s population is exposed to levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) deemed safe by the World Health Organization (WHO). Fine particles or particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) are tiny particles or droplets in the air that are two and one-half microns or less in width.
While daily levels of these dangerous pollutants have reduced in Europe and North America during the two decades to 2019. The levels have risen for Southern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, and the Caribbean, collectively recording more than 70 percent of days above the safe levels.
The analysis revealed that air quality is particularly dangerous in southern Asia and eastern Asia, where more than 90% of days had PM2.5 concentrations above the 15-microgram threshold.
The researchers also noted some seasonal patterns, with northeast China and north India facing high concentrations in winter, and eastern areas in northern America exposed to more air pollution in summer.
For this analysis, the experts combined traditional air quality monitoring observations, satellite-based meteorological and air pollution detectors. They also used statistical and machine learning methods to estimate the global surface-level daily PM2.5 concentrations.