State of Global Air, a collaboration between the Health Effects Institute and The University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health, has released an air pollution exposure map alongside its recent report on the state of global air quality. If you're interested in learning more about the report, we recently wrote about it here.
However, today we want to take a look at the air pollution exposure map. While this map is far from the first air pollution map, it is unique in a few ways. Where maps such as IQAir's focus on the current AQI in cities around the world, State of Global Air's map instead focuses on population-weighted annual average pollutant concentrations.
This makes it a great resource for checking overall air quality in a location. Where more frequently updated maps are great for deciding whether or not a respirator is required on a given day, State of Global Air's map provides an overview of how our cities compare globally.
While particulate pollution such as PM1.0, PM2.5 and PM10 gets most of the attention, other pollutants can also cause severe health impacts. One of the most harmful is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Although this pollutant is often overlooked, State of Global Air included it on the pollution map and it paints a different picture to the PM2.5 map.
Where PM2.5 pollution is typically worse in low and middle-income countries, nitrogen dioxide pollution is more consistently present across all income levels. This means that nitrogen dioxide often has a larger impact on public health in these cities than particulate pollution.
Perhaps most interestingly, the map also shows the health impact of air pollution (PM2.5 and NO2) in many cities around the world. Toggling between the different options on the map will show number of deaths and death rate due to air pollution.
We recommend checking out the map and seeing if your city is present. It's a fantastic resource to see overall air quality trends worldwide.