Monday, December 6, 2010

Air Pollution in the World’s Megacities

Air Pollution (Effects on Humans) Policy Sub-C...
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Urban Air Pollution in Megacities of the World (6 Page pdf, Atmospheric Environment, 30,5, 1996)

The article reviewed today was written 14 years ago and assesses the capability of most of the megacities of the world at that time. How much progress has been made?

Key Quotes:

“A study of air pollution in 20 of the 24 megacities of the world shows the ambient air pollution concentrations are at levels where serious health effects are reported”


  • air pollution is widespread across the megacities and is often most severe in cities in developing countries.. each of the megacities has at least one major air pollutant which occurs at levels that exceed WHO health protection guidelines”

  • in degree of severity, the high levels of SPM [Solid Particulate Matter] are the major problem affecting the megacities as a group”

“One of the major findings of our study was the gross insufficiency in air quality information in the megacities..While some of the megacities have comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems (Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Osaka, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo), there were many where the air quality systems were rudimentary at best (Bangkok, Beijing, Calcutta, Delhi, London, Rio de Janeiro).. In the third category are the megacities with inadequate air monitoring capabilities which produce data of unknown quality on a few pollutants (Buenos Aires, Cairo, Karachi, Manila, Moscow, Tehran). The fourth category consists of the megacities with virtually no air monitoring capabilities (Dacca, Lagos)”

“there is an immediate need to improve the monitoring and emissions inventory capability in cities. These are prerequisites for sound air pollution management strategies with the main aim of protecting public health”

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