By Thierry Malleret, economist

Air pollution is a key determinant of human wellbeing. New research conducted by the World Health Organization shows that air pollution inequality is rising. Levels of contamination (most notably PM10 and PM2.5 particulate matter) vary depending on governments’ financial resources and subsequent actions.

Between 2010 and 2016, respectively, 61 percent and 57 percent of European and American cities experienced a fall in levels of contamination; but the situation has worsened in other regions, particularly South and Southeast Asia, where 70 percent of cities suffered worsening air quality.

Delhi has the worst air pollution in the world, followed by Cairo, Dhaka, Mumbai and Beijing. Worldwide, seven million people die annually from airborne contaminants—making it one of the world’s biggest killers.

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