Despite recent attempts to paint the United States as a major global polluter, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. is among the cleanest nations on the planet.
In the most recent WHO report on air pollution, the United States was listed as one of the countries with the cleanest air in the world, significantly cleaner in fact than the air in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Japan, Austria and France.
While France and other G7 countries lamented the U.S. exit from the Paris climate accord, America’s air is already cleaner than that of any other country in the G7.
Following standard practice, the WHO measures air pollution by the mean annual concentration of fine suspended particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter. These are the particles that cause diseases of all sorts and are responsible for most deaths by air pollution.
According to the WHO, exposure to particulate matter increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
The report, which analyzed the “annual median concentration of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5) for both urban population and rural and urban population” found that the United States was one of the most pollution-free nations in the world.
The annual mean concentrations of particulate matter in the air range from less than 10 to over 100 µg/m3, the report states. At the very low end of the spectrum, the United States has a concentration of just 8, while China has a concentration more than seven times higher at 59, India at 66, Egypt at 101 and Saudi Arabia with the worst air pollution at 127.
“The mean annual concentration of fine suspended particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter is a common measure of air pollution,” the WHO states.
The WHO report is corroborated by a series of other such studies on air and water pollution.
In a recent list of the 25 cleanest cities in the world, the only country to boast three cities among the cleanest on the planet was the United States of America, with Chicago coming in second place, Honolulu coming in fourth, and Portland, OR, coming in sixteenth. Unsurprisingly, no cities from China, Russia or India made the list at all.
Similarly, another list of the 15 most polluted cities in the world featured three cities from China, three cities from Saudi Arabia, and a whopping seven cities from India. No U.S. city made the list. full story