From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause about 7 million premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections. More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the WHO guideline level of 10µg/m3, with low and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures. When it comes to human health, clean air is the most basic amenity. Sadly, today, inadequate air quality is one of the major causes of a variety of acute health issues.
The air quality index (AQI) is a metric for reporting daily air quality, with the objective of informing people about how the local air quality impacts their health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants, for which national air quality standards have been established to safeguard public health.
The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the more serious the health concerns.
|The world's most polluted cities|
|The world's least polluted cities|
|Cape Town||South Africa||1|
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