Air Quality Around the World

The main organisation interested in air pollution is the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.). Their air quality guidelines are used by countries all around the world to understand and set up healthy air quality limits. These limits are used to control air pollutants, helping to protect people from becoming ill due to polluted air.

The European Parliament has used W.H.O. guidelines to set air quality levels for countries within the European Union (E.U.). As Scotland is a member of the E.U. it must, like other European countries, try to achieve these air quality levels. This is done through Scottish laws which govern air quality. In Scotland our air quality laws not only comply with E.U. levels, but are in fact stricter for certain pollutants, meaning we have cleaner air than the rest of the UK!

So, now we know how air pollution is controlled in Scotland - through laws passed by government, how does the air we breathe compare to the rest of the world?  Well, the good news is, our air is relatively clean. Scotland, like many developed countries, has the technology and resources to combat pollution.  This sadly is not the case for all countries. According to studies by the World Health Organisation, some of the worst cities for air pollution in the world are Karachi in Pakistan, Beijing in China, Lima in Peru and Cairo in Egypt. Some of these cities are in quite poor countries overall, and they do not have the money to spend on cleaner technologies and vehicles. It may then be easy to assume that air pollution is just a concern for developing nations, but every country across the world makes choices between conflicting goals when it comes to controlling air pollution, and cities closer to home such as Rome and London suffer from high levels of pollution.

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