Air quality records even in poorer nations

People living in cities in poorer countries outside the developed developed and western global capitals are faced with serious air quality problems linked to exposure to air pollutants from urban burning of biomass lights and heat research from Japan suggests.

The tiny proportion of people living in urban areas who had access to air quality monitoring stations at home or work may help explain the largely unmeasured improvements in health care for people living in struggling urban environments the research team concluded in the paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Theres a small sensitivity of 25-percent in urban areas said lead author Dr. Nitta Andereggen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Oslo.

So having access to air quality monitors at home or in places like airports and bus terminals during commuting is a very good thing Andereggen said by email.

Reuters Health compiled air quality data for 48 countries from three WHO databases with national data from 1995 to 2017.

The Tokyo metropolitan area home to around two million people had the highest prevalence of air pollution in Japan of 54. 8 micrograms per cubic meter for residents and 53. 8 micrograms per cubic meter for non-residents; in Nagoya it was 51. 1 micrograms per cubic meter.

Living at home was associated with 24 percent lower acute levels of PM2. 5 and 6 percent higher acute ones from indoor burning – despite air quality data showing improvements from public transit and the city governments air quality monitoring stations in the past five years.

Tracking by computer also showed more improvements from rural areas such as 53 percent in Latvia and 58 percent in Finland.

About 86 percent of people in Western New Guinea had outdoor air quality monitoring stations at home and at work compared to 24 percent in southern Norway and North Korea.

People in both the poorest and the richer countries are facing various air quality problems said Ana Mazzi of the University of Pittsburgh and University of California Los Angeles who wasnt involved in the research.

So it was surprising that it was low in the developing countries where people in large urban areas had outdoor air quality monitors at post offices and home at work.

These are areas where health care systems have so far failed Mazzi said by email. The level of air pollution in our cities and public spaces is so much higher than what we have measured.

Most of the peaceable is about to break down. Much of the industrialized world has fallen prey to filtration rules for industrial and commercial emissions linked to indoor and outdoor burning. But in much of the developing world such restrictions are enforced at places like parks and on public phone networks meaning many people live indoors or in poor locales.

In Portugal almost three-quarters of all households live in one of the five worst-affected countries for poor air quality compared to around 75 percent in Japan.

Treatment of low air quality means death and illness from chronic diseases that are both preventable said John Asland of the University of South Australia in Adelaide. But pollution levels in significant urbanized places outside major cities continue to be a major factor.