A report by IQAir reveals that Los Angeles has the most polluted air out of more than 2,400 analyzed U.S. cities, despite a 6% drop in 2021 compared to 2020 data, CNN reported Tuesday, March 22nd.
Overall, air pollution around the world rose to unhealthy levels in 2021. IQAir, a company that tracks global air quality, found that pollution in all countries and in 97% of cities exceeded the World Health Organization’s guidelines for air quality.
“The (U.S.) reliance on fossil fuels, increasing severity of wildfires, and varying enforcement of the Clean Air Act from administration to administration have all contributed to U.S. air pollution,” the authors wrote in the story reported by CNN.
The report showed that Atlanta and Minneapolis recorded significant increases in air pollution in 2021. In the United States, the report revealed that air pollution exceeded WHO guidelines two to three times in 2021.
“This report underscores the need for governments around the world to help reduce global air pollution,” Glory Dolphin Hammes, CEO of IQAir North America, told CNN. “(Fine particles) kill too many people every year, and governments need to set stricter national standards for air quality and explore better foreign policies that promote better air quality.”
Worldwide, only 222 cities out of the 6,475 analyzed WHO standards met. Three territories that met WHO guidelines are the French territory of New Caledonia and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were among the countries with the worst air pollution and exceeded WHO guidelines by at least 10 times.
Fossil fuel-powered transportation, energy production and wildfires were, according to researchers, the main sources of pollution in the United States and affect the country’s most vulnerable and marginalized society.
“We are heavily dependent on fossil fuels, especially in terms of transportation,” Hammes, who lives a few miles from Los Angeles, told CNN. “We can act smart on this with zero emissions, but we still do not. And this has a devastating effect on the air pollution we see in major cities.”
Pollution monitoring stations in 6,475 cities in 117 countries, regions and territories were used in the analysis for the IQAir report.