Air pollution, a vital topic for world citizens
As a result of rapid industrial growth and urbanization in many industrializing countries during the last decades, air pollution has become a major environmental issue with a potentially important impact on climate change on the global scale.
Thus, urban pollution is poisoning not only regions combining a high productivity with a high population density such as the Eastern USA, Europe and Japan -– the primary industrialized countries - but also many booming economies of emerging industrialized countries like China, India, Indonesia, etc. In this context, the quality of the air we breathe has become a vital topic for world citizens.
What happens to air quality?
Large cities like Mexico, Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Johannesburg, etc., as well as the main industrial regions like the Ruhr Basin in Germany, the Benelux, the Po river valley in Italy stand out as severely polluted areas and are consequently clearly identifiable on air pollution maps.
A few atmospheric species related to air quality
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), already notorious as one of the main causes of photochemical smog and acid rain, is also responsible for respiratory tract irritation problems (it can enhance asthma, chronic bronchitis, etc. ) and other health ailments.
Next to nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide also contaminates the lower atmosphere.
Examples of BIRA-IASB implications in air quality studies