Research identifies best and worst performing cities in reducing air pollution

A new study has compared PM2.5 levels from 2019 to 2022 levels in 480 cities across the world to identify which ones are making the best progress in reducing air pollution and which are failing miserably.

World Health Organization research last year  revealed that 17% of cities in high-income countries fall below their recommended annual average of 5 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) while in low and middle-income countries only 1% of cities complied with that threshold.7

city buildings under blue sky during daytime

Ulan Bator had the most improved air quality of the 480 cities examined

The latest research, carried out by HouseFresh, calculated the average air pollution level of the first nine months of 2019 and 2022 measured in PM2.5. They then worked out the value difference between 2019 and 2022 to discover the cities where air pollution levels had increased or decreased the most.

Globally, the best performing city was Ulan Bator in Mongolia where average levels fell from 41.3 to 17.9 while Dammam in Saudi Arabia suffered an incredible climb from 43.9 to 155. The report observed that Dammam is a significant center for the Saudi oil industry and is home to both the largest port  in the Persian Gulf and the largest airport in the world.

Other cities who performed well are Pretoria, South Africa where levels fell by 13.0 (from 33.9 to 20.9) and Tianjin, China who saw  a fall of 12.4 (from 40.5 to 28.1)

Winners and losers from Europe are:

  • Europe best: Skopje, North Macedonia – down 12.4
  • Europe worst: Salamanc, Spain – up 5.1
  • USA Best: Omaha, Nebraska – down 1.2
  • USA Worst: Miami, Florida – up 1.8

Image: Tengis Galamez


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