London Evening Standard)
Sunday 20 January 2019 09:00
Shocking images reveal how some of the world’s most polluted cities would look if all pollution was visible.
Using data from 2018, the photos show what it would look like if humans could see hazardous chemicals produced by vehicle exhausts once the initial plume of smoke has disappeared.
According to the Air Quality Index, London’s level of pollution stood at 25, halfway between good and moderate.
The Air Quality Index is used by government agencies to gauge how polluted their cities are, assessing levels of different air particles to determine the level.
Invisible pollution kills up to 9,000 people a year in the English capital, according to the Guardian.
Delhi was found to have almost ten times the pollution level of London, with an AQI rating of 223.
The image created by Select Car Leasing shows the seriousness of the pollution levels in Delhi.
According to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health, India’s toxic air killed 1.24 million people in 2017.
Istanbul also suffered from a high Air Quality Index level in 201. Pollution levels reached 161, considered to be unhealthy.
The images were visualised in accordance with the Air Quality Index.
Cities with a lower Air Quality Rating would have less dense visible emissions, only coverinb close to car exhausts and ground level, but cities with higher, more dangerous emission levels would see denser levels of smog in the atmosphere which would make it difficult to see further beyond short distances ahead.
Last year, research by the University of Chicago found that air pollution can reduce life expectancy by just under two years.
It found that the average person in the world is losing 1.8 years of their life expectancy to dirty air that violates the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.
It comes as Sadiq Khan launches the Breathe London network which uses sensors to build a picture of air quality across the capital.
In collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund Europe and Google Earth Outreach – which will fix mobile sensors to two of its Street View cars – air quality information will be collected and published on an online map.
The map, which will be published on the Breathe London website, will show Londoners the condition of the air they are breathing in each place.
It will also provide pollution forecasts for the coming hours and days.