Every Country Fails WHO Air Quality Standards, New Research Finds

According to a new study conducted by a Swiss air quality monitoring company, every country on Earth failed to meet air quality standards set out by the World Health Organization last year. The study shows the enormous gap between safe air quality levels and the type of air the vast majority of people worldwide are breathing. It also showed a continued gulf between wealthy nations and poorer ones, as countries in Southeast Asia were disproportionately more exposed to worse levels of air pollution.


The data for the new study were sourced from nearly 6,500 cities worldwide. Incredibly, only 222 of those cities met the WHO air quality standards on average. In other words, only about 3 percent of the monitored cities have air that is considered safe to breathe.


Performance was even worse at the country level. No nation on Earth could claim to meet WHO air quality standards on average. Even more concerning was the degree to which even the countries that boasted the best air quality missed the WHO mark. Highly developed nations in North America and Northern Europe had air pollution levels that exceeded the standards by 1-2 times.


In less developed countries, the statistics were truly alarming. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan all exceeded the WHO standards by a factor of more than 10. These countries suffer from levels of fine particulate matter that are extremely hazardous for human health, especially in densely populated cities.


Reasons for the amount of air pollution present throughout the world vary. In some countries, burning of coal and unfiltered industrial emissions contribute to the amount of pollution present in the air. In more developed countries, these factors are still relevant, but they tend to be somewhat mitigated by environmental regulations. Other factors, however, can come into play. In the US, for instance, particulate matter levels in 2021 were driven up by wildfires in the West.


Together, these findings paint a deeply concerning picture. The wealthiest and most developed nations in the world are universally failing to keep their air quality in line with WHO standards. Less developed countries, meanwhile, are left in an even worse position and struggle with pollution up to 10 times the recommended levels.


While there isn’t much you can do about air pollution in your city or country, you can help to keep yourself and your family safer within your own home. High-quality home air purifiers can remove many components of air pollution, including particulate matter and harmful gases. By using an air purifier in your home, you can clean up the air you’re breathing most often.


Have questions about what air purifier is the right fit for you? We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us, and we’ll provide you with answers and product recommendations based on your unique needs.