Living means breathing and breathing means living. But, what do we really know about the air we inhale? Did you know that the air around us contains ultrafine particles that are dangerous to breathe in? And the worst cities in the world exposed to the most dangerous air are the fastgrowing cities of Asia and Africa.
India is home to two in the top five worst affected cities in the world: Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. India also accounts for 50 per cent of the list of the top 20! Interestingly, while only one city from Pakistan features in the list, there are four from China.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has broken down data on ultrafine particles (particulate matter) of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) region by region. WHO's recommended levels are 18 micrograms per cubic metre, compared with 10pg/m3, but Delhi's air contains 122pg/m3, while Zabol, Iran, is the worst at 217pg/m3.
The most affected in Europe is Turkey, with Istanbul dominating the list at 33 pm2.5s levels. Paris features amongst the top 10 at 18 pm2.5s and London appearing further down at 15 pm2.5s. And at the bottom is Stockholm: 6 pm2.5s. On a broader scale Europe's pollution ranges from 33 6 pm2.5s. The Americas' has slightly higher levels ranging from 48 8 pm2.5s a list that is largely dominated by cities in South America. At the top is Lima with 48 pm2.5s, Bogota 24 and Rio de Janeiro 16; while cities like Los