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State of Global Air Report 2020: Highlights

Published on Wednesday, October 28, 2020
State of Global Air Report 2020: Highlights


  • The State of Global Air Report 2020 has been released and it talks about the dangerous effects of air pollution and ozone exposure limits of various countries. In fact, the findings of the report are so appalling that it's high time to curb air pollution more aggressively. State of the Global Air Report is prepared by Boston based NGO Health Effects Institute, and Seattle based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Diseases Project.

Types of Air Pollution:

  • SOGA 2020 classifies air pollution into the following three types:
    • Ambient fine particle pollution
    • Ambient tropospheric ozone layer pollution
    • Household air pollution

What is PM2.5?

  • Particle Matter (PM) is a blend of solid and liquid particles that are suspended in the air. PM2.5 are tiny particles with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres. They stay in air for a longer period of time. When the level of PM2.5 increases, it causes air pollution.

Global Findings

  • 6.67 million people have died in 2019 because of air pollution. Air pollution is the 4th leading factor for deaths in 2019. The top three reasons are blood pressure, tobacco usage and poor diet.
  • Women who are chronically exposed to air pollution, have the risks of giving birth to babies with low birth weight or premature babies.
  • The lockdown to reduce Covid-19 transmission has improved the air quality in various places. But it is temporary only.
  • More than 90% of the global population experienced average annual PM2.5 concentration, which is beyond the prescribed levels by WHO air quality guidelines in 2019.
  • Asian, African and Middle East countries continue to experience high PM2.5 exposures.
  • Australia, Brunei Darussalam and Canada are among the ten countries with the lowest PM2.5 concentration.
  • Compared to 2010, there has been a declining trend in pollution levels of Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania regions in 2019. However, there is no or little progress in North Africa, the Middle East and Sub Saharan Regions.
  • Qatar has experienced the highest ozone exposure in 2019.
  • Small countries like Micronesia and Papua New Guinea experienced lesser ozone exposures.
  • Ozone Exposure accounts for 1 out of every 9 COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) deaths in the world. 
  • Nearly 500,000 infants died in 2019 during their first month owing to air pollution. 

India Specific Findings

  • With a PM2.5 concentration of 83.2 μg/m3, India is the most polluted country as per the report, followed by Nepal and Niger in the second and third places respectively.
  • India has ranked third in highest ozone exposure globally.
  • There has been an increase in PM 2.5 air pollution since 2010, despite implementation so many policies by the Government to reduce pollution.
  • India has witnessed the highest increase in O3 concentration in the past decade by 17%.
  • India has reduced household air pollution significantly to 61%, as compared to 73% in 2010. Thanks to Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, most rural households have started using LPG connections. This is one of the important reasons for decrease in household air pollution in India
  • The National Clean Energy Programme should be expanded to rural areas as well to show predominant changes in air pollution levels.


Ques: 1. Which country ranked first in PM2.5 air pollution released by the State of Global Air Report 2020?
a. Nepal
b. India
c. Niger
d. Pakistan
e. None of the above.

Answer: b
India is the most polluted country as per the State of Global Air Report 2020 based PM2.5 exposure.

Ques: 2. Which country experienced the highest Ozone exposure in 2019 according to the State of Global Air Report 2020?
a. Nepal
b. India
c. Qatar
d. Niger
e. None of the above

Answer: c
Qatar has experienced the highest Ozone exposure in 2019 according to the State of Global Air Report 2020.
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