Environmental Threat (02:23)
Air pollution contributes to seven million premature deaths annually. Factory activity, urban heating, and road traffic have increased toxic emissions that are confused with greenhouse gases. Indian and Chinese cities regularly exceed WHO thresholds.
New Delhi Air (01:39)
Uncontrolled traffic growth has made India's capital the world's most polluted city, according to the WHO. Resident life expectancy has been reduced by three years.
Singrauli Basin Air (03:39)
Coal plants in India's power heartland supply 20% of national electricity. Residents suffer lung infections and allergies from air pollution. The Indian government plans to double coal production in five years.
Paris Particulate (03:31)
Traffic, increased diesel vehicles, and regional agriculture have increased pollution in the French capital. Monitors detect nitrogen dioxide and fine particle levels exceeding WHO guidelines and E.U. legislation.
Secondary Pollutant Simulation (03:30)
French scientists reproduce air pollution in a Créteil lab. Nitrogen dioxide emitted by diesel engines combines with sunlight to form ozone gas. The tropospheric boundary layer depends on temperature and weather conditions.
Smog in the Body (04:39)
Swiss scientists study nanoparticles containing toxic elements. PM 2.5 penetrates the lungs and PM 1 reaches the heart and brain. Epithelial cells are damaged after six hours of exposure to diesel emissions, creating free radicals and potentially leading to cancer.
Sao Paolo Particulate Matter (03:32)
Brazilian scientists study how air pollution accelerates disease. Carbon particles emitted from vehicles are found in the lung tissue of deceased non-smokers. Policy makers are reluctant to restrict private car use or control emissions.
Raising Public Awareness (01:39)
In 2013, the WHO classified air pollution as carcinogenic.
Beijing's War on Smog (03:15)
Heavy pollution has been dubbed the "airpocalypse." The Chinese government launched a campaign restricting driving and shutting factories. Corruption hampers progress; experts predict WHO standards will be met in 2050.
Beijing Environmentalism (02:40)
Chai Jing's documentary about air pollution went viral but was censored. Citizens organized protests forcing authorities to address the public health threat.
Mexico City Air Solutions (04:36)
In 1990, Mexico's capital relocated factories, introduced a one day driving ban program, and tested vehicles. Despite 200 annual clean air days in 2015, corruption has increased particulate levels again. Environmental leaders call for a cultural sustainability revolution.
Berlin's Green Transport Policies (02:27)
The German capital established an environmental zone free of high emission vehicles. Particulate levels have decreased, but nitrogen oxide persists from diesel engines.
Air Pollution Reduction Efforts (03:39)
The French government is trying to limit carcinogenic diesel emissions. Despite manufacturer claims of cleaner models, vehicles continue emitting nitrogen oxide. Brussels has sued the state for failing to meet E.U. standards.
Paris Smog Reduction Measures (01:35)
The city has vowed to remove all polluting vehicles by 2020, beginning with establishing an environmental zone and promoting alternative transport options.
Exporting Air Pollution (04:06)
Emissions cross borders and oceans. Despite California's Clean Air Act, ozone and particle levels are rising again due to pollution traveling from China to North America. Local industries use the foreign smog as an excuse to avoid complying with standards.
Global Air Pollution Governance Efforts (02:49)
By 2050, 75% of the population will live in cities but there is no international treaty or common air quality index. Climatologist Guy Brasseur urges Europe and North America to assist developing countries in adopting cleaner technologies and industries.
Credits: Unbreathable: Cities on the Verge of Asphyxiation (00:40)
Credits: Unbreathable: Cities on the Verge of Asphyxiation
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