Air Pollution Levels Rise in Low-Income Cities

GENEVA, Switzerland – The World Health Organization (WHO) has published it latest finding on global ambient air pollution covering over 3,000 cities in 103 countries.

Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and Abastumani in the country’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region both exceeded the permissible rate for air pollution, according to the study.

The WHO compared the levels of small and fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) in the countries to reveal pollution rates. PM10 and PM2.5 include pollutants such as sulphate, nitrates and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, pose the greatest risk to one's health.

According to the statistic, Tbilisi’s PM10 is 55 μg/m3, well over the recommended rate of 20 μg/m3. At 29 μg/m3, PM2.5 is also over the 10 μg/m3 standard. Abastumani showed better results, but the air pollution rate is still above the norm at PM10 is 28 μg/m3, PM2.5 – 15 μg/m3.

In general, the WHO’s research showed that 80 per cent of people living in urban areas are exposed to hazardous air quality levels.

Low-income cities are the most affected by air pollution. 98 per cent of poor urban areas with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet air quality guidelines, the WHO reported. However, in high-income cities, that percentage decreases to 56 per cent.

The most polluted cities according to the WHO are Onitsha, Nigeria Peshawar, Pakistan and Zabol, Iran.

By Eka Karsaulidze

27 May 2016 12:39