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Would you say that your city has good air quality?

Air pollution affects 1.6 billion people worldwide and is one of the world’s biggest environmental problems, affecting humans and the natural environment. Air pollution is caused by the emission of different substances and particles into the atmosphere, whose consequences can be severe for people’s health and the quality of life of communities.



People in low- and middle-income countries suffer disproportionately from the consequences of outdoor air pollution. According to the World Health Organisation, 89% of the 4.2 million premature deaths related to air pollution occur in these areas, where South East Asia and the Western Pacific are the most affected regions.

Take a moment to think about the following


– One in four people worldwide lives in cities with poor air quality, affecting around 1.8 billion people. (UN 2019).

– More than 7 million people die each year from breathing poor air quality. (WHO 2018).

– The rapid growth of cities has led to highly asphalted areas and uneven vegetation distribution. (Eurostat 2016).

– According to the European Commission, around 15 million people (only) in Spain breathe poor air quality (EU Council 2017).

– It is estimated that in 2019 ambient (outdoor) air pollution caused worldwide 4.2 million premature deaths.

What is making us sick?

One of the most significant components of air pollution is greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrogen oxide (NOx). These gases are released by several human activities like burning fossil fuels (e.g., oil, fuel, and gas), agriculture, and intensive livestock. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to an increase in global temperature and climate change.

Other influential components of air pollution are atmospheric pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These contaminants are emitted by vehicles, factories, and power plants, and can induce severe long-term respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Let’s take a closer look at the origin of some of these contaminants and their effects on our health.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere. However, due to human activity, its concentration has increased significantly in recent decades. The principal source of CO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels for energy production.

Excess CO2 in the atmosphere contributes to global warming, which leads to melting glaciers and rising sea levels. At the body level, breathing a high concentration of CO2 can cause dizziness, nausea, irritability, and anxiety.


  • Carbon monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and highly toxic gas. It is produced when fuels like gasoline, natural gas, and coal do not burn completely. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in the blood and reduces the body’s ability to carry oxygen. Prolonged exposure to CO can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, convulsions, and, in extreme cases, death.


  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

Nitrogen oxides are highly reactive gases produced when fuel is burned at high temperatures, such as in internal combustion engines and power plants. NOx contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog) and can cause respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.


  • Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate matter (PM) is small solid or liquid particles found in the air. They are produced from fossil fuel combustion, soil erosion, biomass burning, and other natural and anthropogenic processes. Airborne particles can cause eye and throat irritation, difficulty breathing, and chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.


  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

 Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that can evaporate at room temperature. They are present in many everyday products, such as paints, varnishes, cleaning products, pesticides, and fuels. VOCs can react with other air pollutants to form ground-level ozone (smog) and can cause respiratory problems, eye and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea.

In summary, outdoor air pollution has (long-term) harmful effects on people’s quality of life and planet sustainability.

It is necessary to execute measures to reduce air pollution, like transitioning to cleaner energy sources and using more efficient and sustainable technologies.


At Green Factor we have created a solution, our project is called MUAC, a nature based solution.

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