Hafnarfjörður on WHO List of Towns with Cleanest Air

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Hafnarfjörður on WHO List of Towns with Cleanest Air

By Zoë Robert
Hafnarfjörður

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The town of Hafnarfjörður, just outside Reykjavík, is among the towns and cities with the cleanest air in the world, according to the latest study by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Three quarters of the 32 cleanest cities (with an annual mean of less than 5 micrograms per cubic meter of particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less) were in Canada and seven were in the United States. Reykjavík and Kópavogur measured annual means of 11 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter respectively. ​

The pollution level in Reykjavík and other parts of the country peaked in February at 40 times the upper safe limit. It was the first time since the last volcanic eruptions in 2010-2011 that the pollution levels had been so high. This time dust, and not ash, was to blame.

The study, which looked at air quality in 1,600 towns and cities during the period 2008 to 2013, found that air pollution around the world had worsened since a smaller survey in 2011, reuters reports. 

Thirteen of the dirtiest 20 cities were located in India. Delhi measured an annual average of 153 micrograms per cubic meter.

According to WHO, air pollution killed about 7 million people in 2012.

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