NASA scientists after studying air pollution levels of over 195 cities for over a period of ten years have come up with a pollution map that shows how pollution levels have changed around the globe in the past decade.
According to the pollution map, the United States and Europe have witnessed a dramatic reduction in the nitrogen dioxide levels whereas India, China and the Middle East has seen a high increase in the level of pollution due to growing industrial sector.
As per experts, nitrogen dioxide is a yellow-brown gas commonly emitted from cars and industrial activities. It is also a major respiratory pollutant in urban smog.
China, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturing hub, has seen an increase of 20% to 50% in nitrogen dioxide, said researchers. The highest growth in the nitrogen dioxide was seen in the North China Plain, a highly populated region from Beijing to Nanjing, they said.
Study lead scientist Bryan Duncan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said, “These changes in air quality patterns aren’t random. When governments step in and say we’re going to build something here or we’re going to regulate this pollutant, you see the impact in the data”.
As per the warnings issued by World Health Organization (WHO), nitrogen dioxide causes several diseases such as asthma, bronchial symptoms, lung inflammation and reduced lung function.
The researchers said in an explanation that most of the nitrogen dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere due to human activities like heating, power generation and combustion processes in vehicles and ships.