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2021 IQAir Report Reveals Air Quality Leaders and Laggards

CNN – Air pollution levels worldwide in 2021 exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality guidelines, according to a report by IQAir, a global air quality tracking company. The report analyzed average annual air pollution in every country and 97% of cities, revealing that only 222 cities met the WHO standards. Three territories, including New Caledonia and Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, adhered to the guidelines. Countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh had the worst air pollution, while Scandinavian countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK ranked among the best for air quality. In the US, air pollution exceeded WHO guidelines by 2 to 3 times in 2021. The report emphasized the need for governments to take action to reduce air pollution and establish more stringent air quality standards. Fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, which can cause various health issues, is the main pollutant contributing to poor air quality. It is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, dust storms, and wildfires. The report also highlighted the impact of climate change-fueled wildfires on air quality in the US. China demonstrated improved air quality due to a decrease in polluting industries in Beijing. The report also revealed that the Amazon Rainforest emitted more carbon dioxide than it absorbed in 2021 due to deforestation and wildfires. The report emphasized the importance of monitoring air quality globally, while acknowledging limitations in certain developing regions. Experts suggest that reducing reliance on fossil fuels would not only slow global warming but also improve air quality and public health. The report serves as a call to action for transitioning to renewable energy sources in order to combat air pollution and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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