Air Quality News Roundup: Glasgow’s Plans, US Pollution, Safe Countries, and Beirut’s Crisis

May 9, 2024 | Blog

In this air quality news roundup, we cover the latest developments from around the world, including Glasgow’s refreshed plans to reduce air pollution, the alarming levels of harmful air pollution exposure in the United States, the seven countries that meet safe air quality levels, and the devastating effects of diesel generators on air quality and health in Beirut.


Glasgow Refreshes Plans to Reduce Air Pollution

Glasgow, Scotland, has recently updated its plans to improve air quality in the city. According to Smart Cities World the city has made significant progress in recent years but remains committed to achieving the best air quality possible. Priority actions include reviewing air quality monitoring around schools, hospitals, and care homes, as well as expanding the active travel network.


Over One-Third of US Population Exposed to Harmful Air Pollution

A new report by the American Lung Association reveals that nearly 131 million people in the United States are exposed to harmful ozone and particle pollution. As reported by the Guardian, this represents an increase of 11.7 million from the previous year.

Four of the five most polluted cities are in California, where wildfires, drought, and extreme heat are driving the rise in hazardous air quality. The reporting highlights that people of colour are disproportionately affected due to zoning practices.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has shown that race is a major factor in air quality exposure regardless of region or income.


Only Seven Countries Breathe Safe Air, Three in Europe

According to a report by Swiss air quality technology company IQAir, only seven countries in the world met safe air pollution levels in 2023. Euronews, reports that these countries are Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand.

In Europe, Iceland had the cleanest air, followed by Estonia and Finland. The report draws on data from more than 30,000 monitoring stations in 134 countries, territories, and regions.

We published a list of some of the most polluted cities in Europe last year.


Beirut’s Air Quality Crisis: Cancer Rates Rise 30% Due to Diesel Generators

The Guardian reports on the devastating effects of diesel generators on air quality and health in Beirut, Lebanon. Since the nation’s economic collapse in 2019, an estimated 8,000 diesel generators have been powering Lebanese cities.

New research by scientists at American University of Beirut has found that the city’s over-reliance on these generators has doubled the risk of developing cancer, with rates of positive diagnosis shooting up. The study also found that levels of carcinogenic pollutants emitted into the atmosphere have doubled across three areas of Beirut since 2017.

This is unfortunately an example whereby diesel can provide an essential power and energy source, but the costs are often longer-term or difficult to immediately measure and attribute.

These news stories highlight the ongoing challenges in maintaining safe air quality levels across the globe. While some cities and countries are making progress in reducing air pollution, others are facing severe crises due to economic and environmental factors. It is crucial for governments, organisations, and individuals to prioritise air quality and take action to protect public health.

Subscribe to the newsletter


Get the latest air quality news