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  Home News and events Environmental research Air pollution threatening quality of life in Asia: U.N.
Air pollution threatening quality of life in Asia: U.N.

Chennai: Air pollution remains a threat to health and quality of life in most Asian cities, according to a report supported by the United Nations Environment Programme. This report is based on an international collaborative study carried out by the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, U.K., the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia), the Korea Environment Institute and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).


The study looked at air quality and management in 22 Asian cities and the findings were released as part of the first governmental meeting on urban air quality held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


The major finding of this report is that the concentration of the fine particulate matter PM10 is serious in Beijing, Dhaka, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kathmandu, Kolkata, New Delhi, and Shanghai. However, the report finds that cities like Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo have excellent capacity to manage air quality. It looks that there is some hope to contain and improve air quality in these cities.


However, cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Manila and Mumbai are found to have only moderate capability and face the challenge of addressing transport-related emissions. According to the report, Dhaka, Hanoi, Surabaya and Kathmandu have only limited capability to manage air quality.


Urban air quality has become a major concern in the recent past. According to the World Health Organisation estimates, about 6,00,000 Asians die prematurely each year due to air pollution. The report finds that air quality in most cities exceeds international guidelines for the protection of human health for certain pollutants.


The report observes that the gains achieved through reduced vehicle emissions are offset by the rise in volume of vehicles. Rapid urbanisation, increasing motorisation and energy consumption are listed as some of the challenges that Asian cities face. Air quality management systems are not adequate in terms of completeness it says.


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