Air Pollution in world’s cities

by Igman on October 8, 2017 - 1:11pm

The article ‘’Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities’’ written by John Vidal describes the growing phenomenon in cities all around the world that is air pollution. Through the use of datas and quotations, the author of this article shows that air pollution is a phenomenon that is growing worldwide and that it is truly detrimental to our cities.  In the past five years, according to recent studies, air pollution has globally increased by 8%. According to Flavia Bustreo, the assistant director general of World Health Organization, this global increase in air pollution is harmful for urban human populations since it increases the risk of strokes, heart diseases, lung cancers and chronic respiratory diseases. As a result, health costs in cities escalates while workers productivity and life expectancy decreases. The author of the articles tells us that, in order to counter air pollution, many cities have decided to take measures such as reducing their industrial smokestack emissions, increasing their use of renewable energy sources and promoting means of transport that are less harmful to air quality.


I personally think that individuals from urban area should make more efforts to reduce their pollutant emissions by consuming less energy, taking the bicycle or the bus to commute to work and by encouraging their peer to do the same. Also, I think that governments should make their part concerning this growing phenomenon by putting in place laws and legislation that would force big industries to reduce their production in atmospheric pollutants.





Hi Igman,
your report got me interested because air pollution is often forgotten as an urban issue. In today's society, climate change is an important concern and humans should think about doing something about it for the good of future generations. Hence, I applaud you for bringing this issue up because it is really important as Kunzli (2003) says that “the Children's Health Study indicates that reduced lung function growth, increased school absences, asthma exacerbation, and new-onset asthma are occurring at current levels of air pollution.”

Also, I must mention that more countries should follow the examples of cities that promote the use of safe bike ways, restrict parking space and encourage taking the bus, the metro or the bike to go to work or to school because it will have a great impact on reducing emission gases. For instance, the author states that “truck and automobile emissions are responsible for most of the air pollution in Southern California” (Kunzli, 2003) so by promoting public transportation, air pollution is reduced.

My opinion concerning the topic is the same as yours, which is that people living in urban areas should adopt eco-friendly habits in their every-day life. For instance, take the bus instead of your car (like you mentioned). Not only could it reduce traffic but it would reduce pollution.

Kunzli, N., McConnell, R., Bates, D., Bastain, T., & al, e. (2003). Breathless in los angeles: The exhausting search for clean air. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1494-9. Retrieved from

The article you chose got me interested because air pollution in our world is an issue that affects me a lot, having a father who works in the electric cars domain. Since I am very young I was aware of this issue, which becomes bigger and more harmful every year. Having myself an electric car at home, I felt that I needed to add a comment on the issue of air pollution. This problem is often ignored, which is illogic since it is directly linked to our own health. In the article "Reduce Air Pollution", the issue presented takes place in China. Children grow up in an area full of smogs and the numbers of respiratory illness increase. The cities Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an exceed the World Heath Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines, which harms the population with cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In the article, it is said that if those cities has respected the guidelines of WHO in 2012, there would have been 81% less premature deaths. This proves how cities don't take the easy and necessary steps in order to prevent air pollution that are very harmful for us.

Source: Reduce Air Pollution. (2012). Retrieved from

Hello Igman,
I believe another effort that individuals can make to reduce their environmental footprint would be to volunteer in an organization such as Nature Conservancy Canada.
The Nature Conservancy Canada’s vision is that they “envision a world in which Canadians conserve nature in all its diversity, and safeguard the lands and waters that sustain life.”
Their mission is to lead and inspire others to create a legacy for future generations by protecting important areas and biological diversity in Canada. They claim to do this through durable conservation outcomes such as managing lands and waters and by basing their decisions on scientific facts.
The main thing they do is conservancy of land. They have a team of conservation science professionals who assess the best actions to take to protect Canada’s natural spaces to manage and restore them. They do this by removing invasive plants, finding the location of rare animals and buying land.
One of the projects volunteers can get involved in is Group Volunteering. Volunteers can chose different activities to do that usually last only a full day. They can choose to go out to a nearby reserve or do an in-office workshop. It does cost money to perform those activities though. To participate in those activities, you’ll have to get a group and sign up to do and activity, usually employees from a company would sign up and do that activity.
On June 17, the nature Conservancy of Canada planted 2500 trees in an old agricultural field that was donated to them in New Brunswick. They were helped by the Canadian Forest International and by the Nature Conservancy of Canada volunteers.

You might also want to check this Nature Canada as their mission is “To protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature.” They get involved in national issues such as wilderness protection, bird conservation and endangered species. They have 5 branches that work for different goals. NatureNetwork is a network of naturalist charities and groups, on provincial and regional levels, that advocate nature conservation in Canada. NatureVoice is a program of advocacy that encourages the federal government to vote for environmental friendly policies. NatureCaretakers is a group of volunteers that are dedicated to protecting habitats of great importance across Canada and finally NatureWatch and NatureHood encourages Canadians to study nature to and connect with it in their local communities.
NatureCaretakers is a vital bird monitoring program that ensures the protection of places that are important for breeding and migrating. They watch over a third of Canada’s 600 Important Bird Areas. According to their website, NatureCaretakers are the first line of defense for areas that are missing oversight and protection. After signing up online, caretakers are matched to different Important Bird Areas where they will monitor bird activity, do conservation activities and assess habitats. The Caretakers work with different specialists such as scientists, local communities, nature groups and governments to ensure that conservation ideas are put into place.
Nature Canada’s history dates back to 1939 when Reginald Whittemore released the magazine Canadian Nature in honour of his wife, Mabel Frances who was a nature lover and educator. Today, the organization is comprised of 45,000 members and a network of over 350 naturalist organizations located in every Canadian province.

Hi Igman,
I am happy that you brought up the subject of air pollution as an urban issue because it is a worldwide problem that should be at the top of the list of our preoccupations right now. Indeed, not only is air pollution bad for the health of city dwellers, but it is also responsible for the greenhouse effect and meteorological disequilibrium.
I agree that, for significant improvement to be made, there needs to be government interventions as well as individual efforts. More specifically, I think, like you, that people should avoid using cars and try public transports, biking or even walking (whenever feasible) instead.
A study by the European Environmental Agency shows that “motorized transport is responsible for 70% of environmental pollution and 40% of greenhouse gases emissions in European cities” (Rojas-Rueda, et al., 2016). A study conducted by Rojas-Rueda et al. (2016) measured that, for six different European cities, a scenario where 35 % of the population commuted by bike (like in Copenhagen) would lead to considerable reductions of carbon dioxide emissions (up to 26,423 metric tons/year). Also, that same study concluded that “active transportation policies can result in health benefits” (Rojas-Rueda, et al., 2016).
Thus, there is no better way to fight air pollution and to stay healthy than by taking the bike and walking whenever possible.
Works Cited
Rojas-Rueda, D., de Nazelle, A., Andersen, Z. J., Braun-Fahrländer, C., Bruha, J., Bruhova-Foltynova, H., & ... Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J. (2016). Health Impacts of Active Transportation in Europe. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149990

Hi Iggman. I chose to answer your summary since I found its content quite interesting. Indeed, air pollution is a health issue not often brought up by people, which I is something that bothers me since it has a very big effect on people' health. If we wish to be able to live in our cities without having to wear gas masks when we go outside, I believe it is now time to take more actions to solve this problem.

At first, as you mentionned, I also believe people should make more efforts to reduce their environmental impact to help us all have a pure air to breathe. But I also believe our governments have a big gap to fill towards how our environment is treated. In my mind, it is time to put in place various measures to preserve nature, because we are now at a crucial point where our actions will determine the lives of our children and grandchildren. As Louise Smith explains: “As shown in various studies, climate change has now reached a peak, and it is our duty to leave our children and their children a planet where they can live.” (Smith, 2017, p.9). As the article mentions, the overall density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has now surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history, and the health effects due to this rise are still unknown. This recent rise in CO2 shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that about 60 percent of fossil-fuel emissions stay in the air.

Thus, a good way to start improving our air quality would be to leave the car at home if possible and take the bus, or even the bike to reduce our environmental impact. Not only would taking the bike help the air, but it would also improve people's pysical health.

Works Cited
Smith, L., D’Antoni, D. (2017). Psychosocial and demographic predictors of adherence and non-adherence to health advice accompanying air quality warning systems: a systematic review. Plos ONE, 11(3), 1-18. doi:16.1483/journal.pone.0257830

About the author

Igman is a promising young author that studies in Pure and applied Science at Champlain's College.