Ever felt like you can’t breathe even though you’re outside? Countries have been aware of the fact that industrialization has polluted the air we depend on significantly and they have been trying to find solutions to the problem while maintaining the quality of life. Decades after the Clean Air Act, people are breathing easier in some places.
Many non-profit organizations have annual reports analyzing the air quality in different cities all over the world. While rankings vary because of dissimilar criteria used for the comparisons, some towns make these sorts of lists almost every time.
The American Lung Association’s annual report, for example, looks at levels of ozone and particulates, which are tiny particles that can get stuck to the lungs. The Blacksmith Institute, working together with the Green Cross Switzerland, analyzed the most dangerous pollution problems the world faces, among which is air pollution. Others take the natural environment in and around the city into consideration as well.
Contamination can be chemical, radioactive, heavy smog, or coming from improperly disposed waste products. New Delhi, the capital in India, beat Beijing in the most polluted city in the world category with its 8.5 million registered vehicles.
The ways cities keep their air clean from extremely strict like banning cars that give out smoke to more voluntary ones such as raising awareness about the invisible long-term damage polluted air inflicts on our health.
The big reason why Oslo, the capital of Norway, is perceived as one of the world’s cleanest cities is the many way the city finds to make itself greener. Five years ago the local administration launched buses that run on by the fuels taken from human waste. Officials don’t spare expenses when it comes to educating people on the merits of keeping the environment unpolluted.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has a large and very efficient public transportation system and less number of industries in the city. People actually want to get on the bus instead of in their cars to go to work because it’s much easier. As a result, fuel consumption is not very high and the air is cleaner. The Swedish capital has a very well managed waste system – garbage is collected from homes and transported through underground network of tunnels. Sweden recycles 99 percent of its waste and the remaining 1 percent is buried in landfills.