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Blog 27 July 2023

Roundup: Air quality news July 2023

From electrifying buses to a declining insect population, here’s your run down of the latest news and research from the clean air field.

Air pollution poses significant risks to people and planet. At Clean Air Fund, we know that sharing evidence and learning is crucial to the clean air movement. Explore the latest air pollution news articles, research, and efforts to tackle air pollution below. 

Air pollution could increase the risk of arrhythmias 

Acute exposure to air pollution could increase the risk of irregular heartbeat, a study has revealed. Looking at data from 322 cities and 2,000 hospitals in China, researchers analysed hourly exposure to toxic air and arrhythmia symptoms. The findings indicate that the association is “immediate and persistent”, highlighting the need for effective prevention strategies.  

Global decline in insect population linked to poor air quality – even in remote areas  

The impact of air pollution on insect health and reproduction could be greater than previously thought, reveal researchers at the University of Melbourne, Beijing Forestry University and the UC Davis Health. The new study reports that particulate matter from industry, transport, bushfires, and other sources of air pollution, reduces an insect’s ability to find food and mate.  

Rwanda to roll out 200 electric buses  

The Rwandan government signed an agreement with Vivo Energy and the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to secure over 200 electric buses in Kigali. Building on this momentum, Rwanda is introducing incentives to catalyse the adoption of electric vehicles – including capped electricity tariffs for charging stations.  

Health effects of low emission and congestion charging zones revealed 

Drawing on more than 3,000 studies, a review published by The Lancet examined the health impact of low emission and congestion charging zones. Researchers found observable health benefits, including reductions in cardiovascular disease subcategories. Authors called for more research on how to optimise the design of such schemes to continue to improve health outcomes. 

716 million of the world’s lowest income people live in areas with unsafe levels of air pollution 

A new study reveals that one in every 10 people exposed to unsafe air pollution lives in extreme poverty. Research by the World Bank analysed global air pollution and population maps, as well as subnational poverty data from household surveys. Countries with high levels of poverty and unsafe air pollution also scored poorly in terms of health care access and quality. 

Amsterdam to ban cruise ships in city centre 

In a bid to curb air pollution and reduce tourist numbers, Amsterdam is set to ban cruise ship docking in the city centre. In June, the European Federation for Transport and Environment revealed that 63 cruise ships owned by the Carnival Corporation emitted 43% more sulfur oxides than Europe’s 291 million cars in 2022. 

Wildfire smoke takes toll on US labour market  

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that wildfire smoke exposure can decrease labour income, employment and labour force participation rates across a wide variety of sectors, including manufacturing and health care. The study revealed that the impact is worse among older workers, suggesting that age or poor health may amplify its harmful effects. 

Many EU countries still exceed air quality standards 

The European Environment Agency’s new briefing highlights that 97% of the urban population in 2021 was exposed to concentrations of particulate matter above the recommended WHO guideline. The highest ozone levels were seen in the Mediterranean region and central Europe. 

Air pollution linked to risk of stroke  

A cohort study in Denmark connected air pollution exposure, road traffic noise and green space to an increased risk of stroke. Researchers investigated their independent relationship with stroke in multi-exposure analyses and estimated their cumulative stroke burden. 

Main contributors to particulate matter in European cities revealed  

A team of researchers examined the spatial and sector-specific contributions of emissions to ambient air pollution and mortality in European cities. The findings revealed that the residential and agricultural sectors are the main contributors to mortality related to PM2.5, and transport is the main contributor to mortality related to NO2. The results revealed strong variability between cities, underscoring the need for local policies and coordinated actions that consider city-level specificities. 

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Roundup: Air quality news June 2023

From tracking wildlife to record breaking wildfire smoke, here’s a rundown of the news, research and insights on air quality from June 2023.

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