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Air pollution is not just a China problem

Blog post   •   Aug 31, 2014 13:26 GMT

Folks in china talk about the air pollution and how it can cause asthma, but few cities anywhere in the world can claim to be free of air pollution.

Consider Europe, where according to the European Environmental Agency (EEA) more than nine out of 10 city-dwellers are exposed to air pollutants above World Health Organisation guidelines.

Eleven European Union countries have failed to achieve individual limits on air pollutant emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) that they were to have achieved by 2010. For example, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain all breached the nitrogen oxide ceilings in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Denmark and Finland have exceeded the ammonia ceilings for three years running.

Road transport contributes around 40 percent of total EU nitrogen oxide emissions.

Meanwhile in the USA, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has named its Top 10 "Asthma Capitals".

In 2014, Philadelphia was among the Top 5 worst asthma cities due to having the poorest air quality. Richmond, Virginia, ranked the asthma capital of the nation with high levels of year-round pollen and poverty, while high pollen counts help put Tulsa and Oklahoma City in the Top 10.

The report said people in Chicago are twice as likely to end up in the hospital for asthma than elsewhere in the U.S. and African-Americans in Chicago are five times more likely than white people to die of it.