Portugal in the group of countries with the best air quality

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Portugal is among the 20 countries in the world with the best air quality, according to a list released today that analyzes the air in 134 countries.

The 2023 analysis is part of the 6th Annual Report on Air Quality in the World by IQAir, a Swiss technology organization whose mission is to empower people, organizations and governments to improve air quality.

For the results now released, which in some cases are worrying, IQAir used data from 30,000 air quality monitoring stations at 7,812 locations in 134 countries, territories and regions.

In last place, at 134th, is Bangladesh, followed by Pakistan, India, Tajikistan and Burkina Faso.

To draw up the list, the organization uses the so-called fine particles (PM2.5), measured in micrograms per cubic meter, as its main indicator. They are linked in particular to combustion engines and have significant impacts on human health.

According to the report, Bangladesh had an annual average of 79.9 micrograms per cubic meter, more than 15 times higher than that approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends a maximum of five micrograms.

In the European Union, the maximum permitted levels are 25 micrograms.

On the map of countries, on a color scale where the best positions are in green, there are more than 90 with a less good rating.

Russia (10 micrograms, in position 94) is the first nation in green, followed by others such as Spain (9.9 micrograms), France in position 99 (9.5 micrograms), and the United Kingdom (7.7 micrograms). Portugal, in position 118, has 6.8 micrograms.

The best ranking goes to French Polynesia, in 134th place, with 3.2 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter.

This means that only 16 countries/regions have better air than Portugal on the list just released.

By capital city, New Delhi in India is the most polluted, followed by Dhaka in Bangladesh and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Rome, Berlin and Paris are on the yellow list and Lisbon appears on the green list, ahead of other green capitals such as London, Madrid, Copenhagen or Luxembourg.

San Juan (Puerto Rico) appears as the least polluted, followed by Wellington, Canberra and Reykjavik.

If only the European continent is taken into account (represented by 2,006 cities in 43 countries), Bosnia-Herzegovina appears as the most polluted country, while the least polluted is Iceland (average concentration of 04 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air).

Portugal is in 37th place, behind Iceland, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland.

In terms of European cities, last year only 7% (135) reached the WHO values, including all the cities in Iceland. Portugal’s cities are rated green, but not at the WHO recommended value.

Among the main conclusions of the world report are that only seven countries have complied with the WHO’s annual directive (Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and New Zealand), that a third of the population in Africa has no access to air quality data, that PM2.5 concentrations have increased in almost all Southeast Asian countries, and that the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in Asia.

Begusarai, in India, was the most polluted metropolitan area in 2023, making India the country with the four most polluted cities in the world.

The European Union should soon have a new law on the matter, and a new directive on ambient air quality is due to be voted on by the European Parliament in April.

Air pollution is responsible for around 300,000 premature deaths a year in Europe, making it the main environmental threat to health, warns the European environmental organization EEB.

It contributes to health problems including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory diseases, diabetes, dementia, cancer and delays in children’s cognitive development.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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