Siberia is getting hit hard by fire pollution. It’s one of the most polluted regions in the world when it comes to harmful smoke from fires.
Using advanced machine learning and chemical transport models, researchers from Australia and China checked the air quality from 2000 to 2019. They found that tiny dangerous particles (known as PM2.5) have been on the rise. Siberia is a significant hotspot, as well as Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.
Also, Russia made it to the top 5! But not in a good way. Nearly 100 million people in the country, including many in Siberia, had to deal with this smoky air. The other countries in the top 5 were Brazil, the USA, Indonesia, and China.
If you’re in a poorer country, the situation is even worse. The air from these fires can be four times as bad as in richer places.
Between 2010 and 2019, over 2 billion people worldwide experienced at least one day of bad air quality each year. On average, every person faced nearly ten days of this pollution annually. These numbers rose by 6.8% and 2.1% compared to the decade before, from 2000 to 2009.
Breathing in polluted air can seriously harm our health. A new study found that in homes with more PM2.5 particles, there are more people with dementia. Plus, air pollution makes germs more resistant to medicines.
Illustration: Elia Kabanov feat. MidJourney. Infographics: Rongbin Xu et al. / Nature.