NPR reporters and freelance journalists share their experiences with air pollution in cities like Beijing, Seoul, New Delhi, Mexico City, and Johannesburg.
Beijing and Seoul: Beijing has improved its air quality over the years by moving factories out of the city and replacing coal stoves with electric heat.
* However, dust storms still cause occasional AQI readings of 500 or worse.
* Seoul faces pollution issues related to its proximity to China, automobiles, and heavy industry.
New Delhi: The city faces dangerous pollution levels, reaching AQI levels of 500 to 600 in the winter.
* Studies suggest breathing in the polluted air is as dangerous as smoking around two dozen cigarettes per day.
* Pollution is influencing residents’ decisions on whether to raise children in the city.
Mexico City: Once known as the most polluted city in the world, the city’s air quality has improved due to government regulations on vehicle usage and industrial output.
* Residents now experience fewer environmental contingencies in a year.
Johannesburg: Air quality in South Africa varies significantly depending on the location, with wealthier areas experiencing better air quality.
* Limited availability of reliable data is a challenge to monitoring air quality across the African continent.
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