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This map shows air pollution levels in 1,100 cities around the world

Just yesterday, we wrote about the World Health Organization’s new categorization of air pollution as “carcinogenic to humans”. The map above was created by the WHO to show particulate matter (PM) pollution around the world, measuring specifically PM10, or particulates with a diameter of 10 micrometers.

The database contains results of urban outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1100 cities in 91 countries. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns).

The database covers the period from 2003 to 2010, with the majority of values for the years 2008 and 2009. The primary sources of data include publicly available national/subnational reports and web sites, regional networks such as the Asian Clean Air Initiative and the European Airbase, and selected publications. The database aims to be representative for human exposure, and therefore primarily captures measurements from monitoring stations located in urban background, urban traffic, residential, commercial and mixed areas.

The world’s average PM10 levels by region range from 21 to 142 ug/m3, with a world’s average of 71 ug/m3. (source)
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