Clearer Skies Ahead?
Experts say it's not too late for governments and citizens to clean up the air. Many city governments have banned heavily polluting vehicles, stepped up air quality monitoring to alert citizens of dangerous pollution levels, and introduced more environmentally friendly options for cooking and heating.
All of the countries on this list signed the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate, which committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping global warming below 2°C (3.6°F) over preindustrial levels. Each country has set emissions-reduction goals, and many are working on national plans to meet those targets that include actions to minimize air pollution.
But as IQAir’s report suggests, more can be done. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) recommended twenty-five measures last year to address air pollution, including establishing stronger emissions standards for industry and transport, planting trees and other greenery to minimize road dust, and raising awareness about air pollution’s harmful effects.
“At the core of all of this is public awareness. We need more voices alerting people to the dangers of air pollution, in particular the effects of PM2.5, and demanding action to bring back clean air,” Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, the UNEP’s Asia-Pacific coordinator for air quality, told CFR.