Home > Latest News > Environmental Health > Environmental Protection >

Nine British Towns and Cities on WHO List of Air Quality Blackspots

May 8, 2014
Environmental Protection

smogThe latest report on global air quality by the World Health Organisation (WHO) includes nine British towns and cities that are breaching safe limits for fine particulates (PM10s). Levels in Birmingham, Chesterfield, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent and Thurrock were found to be above the safe annual average of 10 micrograms per cubic metre set by the WHO.

Three more UK cities (Manchester, Bournemouth and Northampton) failed to provide any monitoring data for PM10s. The Urban Air Quality Database shows results from 1,600 cities in 91 countries including 36 in the UK.

Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO’s assistant director-general for family, children and women’s health said: “Too many urban centres today are so enveloped in dirty air that their skylines are invisible. Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe, so a growing number of cities and communities worldwide are striving to better meet the needs of their residents, in particular children and the elderly.”

The situation in India is particularly concerning, with Delhi heading the WHO index with a PM10 reading of 286 micrograms per cubic metre. The latest figures show that half the world’s urban population are now living in areas that have particulate levels at least two and a half times safe limits. Earlier this year it was estimated that poor air quality was responsible for 3.7 million deaths globally in 2012.

You can view the WHO Ambient (outdoor) Air Pollution in Cities Database 2014 here