The 2021 World Air Quality Summary reported that no country met the World Health Organization’s air quality standard in 2021, according to IQ Air.

Who conducted the study? The report was done by a Swiss company, IQ Air.

  • The company studies air quality conditions from all around the world, aiding in improving air quality through science and technology, as stated on their website.

What are the WHO air quality guidelines? The guideline set by WHO is that annual readings of “small and hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 should be no more than 5 micrograms per cubic metre,” per Reuters.

  • Out of 6,475 cities studied in the survey, only 3.4% percent of them met air quality standards, according to Reuters.
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What does the data show? The report displays a chart showing the air quality of different areas of the world.

  • Bangladesh was the world's most populated country, with Chad following second.
  • China, India and some African countries are areas where the hazardous particles in the air significantly exceeded WHO guidelines, according to the report.
  • Some areas who came closest to meeting WHO guidelines are the United States, Canada and northern Europe.
  • Although still ranking high on the pollution scale, China’s air quality has improved from previous reports, reported Reuters.

United States data: The United States, on the other hand, experienced a 7% increase in fine particle air pollution from 2020, reported NBC.

  • “Seven of the 10 most populous cities in the United States have returned to pre-pandemic levels of air pollution,” according to NBC.
  • NBC also reported that Atlanta, Georgia, saw a 33% increase in pollution and Minneapolis, Minnesota, recorded a 35.7% increase in pollution from 2020.

The dangers of air pollution: “Every year, exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million premature deaths and result in the loss of millions more healthy years of life,” according to WHO.

  • When air quality is under the WHO guidelines, the small particulate matter in the air “are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs but PM (particulate matter) can even enter the bloodstream, primarily resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory impacts, and also affecting other organs,” WHO reported.