Air quality is not the first factor typically considered when assessing matters like infrastructure and public health. However, global air quality statistics are truly shocking when it comes to their effects. In fact, 91% of the world’s population lives in locations where the WHO’s air quality guidelines are not met.
Air pollution is a crucial health challenge responsible for more than 4 million premature deaths worldwide and contributing to 300 billion euros in economic losses per year.
Unless action is taken, this global issue is only getting bigger as significant global dynamics like climate change and rapid and complex urbanization are only adding to the problem. Air pollution can have devastating effects on our environment, from crop yields to biodiversity and by degrading our infrastructure.
At the same time, we must also consider pollution’s effect on the air we breathe. The average adult takes in more than 7,500 litres of air each day. Contaminants in the air not only cause damage to our lungs, but recent research shows they can also harm most other organ systems.
Fortunately, with the right access to the right information, it is possible to become more informed, active, and invested in gaining a deeper connection between urban communities and the environment. This can open up new ways of thinking to enable dramatic societal outcomes that support an enhanced quality of life, safety, efficiency and sustainability in communities.
The first step to combatting this challenge is dependable air quality monitoring.
Although air quality monitoring itself does not reduce pollution, it can provide data to help decision-makers understand the risks their community is facing and develop a strategy for how to address air quality concerns.