...Given all the harm we know air pollution can cause, does cycling actually help, or could it hurt? After all, I’m not breathing in the foul fumes of a truck when I’m sitting inside an air-conditioned train. I’m certainly not breathing them in deeply, as I would while huffing and puffing on my cycle.
Air pollution kills more than 5 million people every year, yet there has been no analysis of the costs versus benefits of city cycling. Until now. — Quartz
Long story short: keep biking. Researchers found that, in almost every city around the world, the health benefits of biking "far exceed" the damage than can be caused by breathing in dirty air. Even in the worst polluted cities in the world, you have to ride at least 60 minutes a...
In the latest attempt from a big city to move away from car hegemony, Barcelona has ambitious plans. Currently faced with excessive pollution and noise levels, the city has come up with a new mobility plan to reduce traffic by 21%. And it comes with something extra: freeing up nearly 60% of streets currently used by cars to turn them into so-called “citizen spaces”. — The Guardian
"The plan is based around the idea of superilles (superblocks) – mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed to “fill our city with life”, as its tagline says."A precedent for Barcelona's superblocks was actually...
Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels. — The Guardian
According to the WHO data, the most polluted city in the world is Onitsha, a booming port city on the coast of Nigeria. With almost 600 micrograms per cubic meter, the city has around 30 times the recommended level of PM10 particles (the larger, but still dangerous, air pollutant particles).In...
Residents of just four American metropolitan areas have had regular access to healthy air in recent years. Those four places — Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; Elmira-Corning, N.Y.; and Salinas, Calif. — had the pleasure of breathing air consistently free of unhealthy ozone, short-term particle and year-round particle pollution from 2012 to 2014,according to a new national air quality report card from the American Lung Association.
The air everywhere else was less consistently clean. — Washington Post
Actually, air quality has significantly improved in American cities since the passing of the 1970 Clean Air Act and subsequent legislation. This year marked the lowest particle pollution levels in 16 years for all but four of the top 20 most-polluted cities.Still, things remain pretty grim: more...
Beijing is stepping up measures to fight against smog and pollution by building a web of ventilation corridors as one of its plans to combat climate issues, according to municipal authorities.
“Ventilation corridors can improve wind flow through a city so that wind can blow away heat and pollutants, relieving urban heat island effect and air pollution,” Wang Fei, deputy head of Beijing’s urban planning committee, told Xinhua News Agency. — CCTV America
The planned "ventilation corridors" would range from less than 80 meters to more than 500 meters wide and – hopefully – do what their name suggests, providing a conduit for wind to blow away pollutants like particulate matter.Five major corridors are planned for the Chinese capital, running...
The number of premature deaths attributed to particulate pollution has risen, government figures show.
According to Public Health England, the percentage of premature deaths attributable to minute particles known as PM2.5s rose to 5.3% in 2013 in England from 5.1% in 2012. The death rate in London rose to 6.7% from 6.6%. The figures follow significant improvements in air quality across England in 2010 and 2011. — the Guardian
Related:New Delhi mandates odd-even car rationing to fight world's worst air pollutionReducing Turin's smog with free public transitBeijing's latest "airpocalypse" is bad enough for city to issue first ever red alertCar-free events significantly improve air quality
For the first two weeks of the year, private cars with even-numbered license plates are allowed on the roads only on even-numbered dates, and those with odd-numbered plates on odd dates. The restrictions have noticeably reduced traffic in a city with 9 million cars, more than double that of a decade ago.
In 2014, the World Health Organization found New Delhi’s air to be the dirtiest of 1,600 cities it studied. Scientists blame the high levels of pollutants [...] for thousands of deaths a year. — latimes.com
A red alert should go into effect if there is a prediction that the air quality index will stay above 200 for more than 72 hours. The United States government rates above 200 as “very unhealthy,” and 301 to 500 as “hazardous.” At 7 p.m. Monday, the Beijing municipal reading was 253. [...]
At international climate change talks, including the ones now underway in Paris, Chinese officials have promised to curb coal use in order to address both air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. — nytimes.com
More from Beijing:Beijing's challenges to become the center of Jing-Jin-Ji — a supercity of 130 million peopleThe tiny village library that draws Beijingers in drovesBeijing mayor says air pollution makes his city "unlivable"China considering drastic ban on coal
CicLAvia [is] a series of one-day events organized by a local nonprofit in which neighborhood streets are closed to motor vehicles so that people can walk and cycle freely...
Now, a study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has found that the event significantly reduces air pollution along the CicLAvia route and even on other streets in the communities where the event is held. — UCLA
After [the 23-foot-tall air filter designed by Daan Roosegaarde] filters smog from the air, it compresses the collected waste particles into cubes that can be embedded into jewelry such as rings and cufflinks — and, hopefully, prompt further conversations about extreme air pollution. — Hyperallergic
For more on how designers are creatively tackling pollution:• Delhi’s air pollution is worse than Beijing's. A new app measures the air quality in real time.• Beijing mayor says air pollution makes his city "unlivable"• Air Pollution Google Earth Mashup
Residents of the world’s most polluted city—New Delhi, in case you were still wondering—can now find out exactly how toxic the air in their neighbourhood is. [...]
“People are clueless about the air they are breathing. If there is fog, they think it might be pollution,” he said. “People will have this information on their fingertips now.” [...]
While the government figures out a way to bring pollution under control, this app could help people buy time. — qz.com
China's smog-shrouded, overcrowded, traffic-choked capital has become unlivable.
And that's not the assessment of some tourist or disgruntled cubicle-dweller: That's the mayor talking. [...]
"In establishing a top-tier, internationalized livable and harmonious city, Beijing is currently establishing a system of standards, something that is very important," Wang said in comments reported by state news outlets. "At the present time, however, Beijing is not a livable city." — VICE
In an effort to remediate a large patch of heavily contaminated soil in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, engineers managed to unleash a smell so pungent that, last week, owners of the site took a new tactic: a giant tent to contain it all. [...]
Though the 20,000-square-meter polyester tent contains an area roughly the size of three football fields and rises 36 meters near downtown, it only covers less than half of the contaminated area. — motherboard.vice.com
Beijing has the worst smog levels among the world's capital cities - so bad that playing sports outdoor is often banned - but it could get a stunning new set of lungs in the form of a covered botanical garden, retail and office complex under a giant transparent roof.
Called Bubbles, the architectural concept might seem an unlikely candidate for a high-rise city of 21 million people. But its designers believe it offers something that every urban environment needs. — South China Morning Post
China’s premier, Li Keqiang, announced a “war on pollution“—evidence that the highest levels of government have acknowledged that China’s smog and dirty air have reached a crisis point. And what better way to launch a war on pollution than with a fleet of smog-clearing drones? — qz.com
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