According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year and nine out of 10 people breathe air with high levels of pollutants.
Car users from the world’s least affluent cities are exposed to a disproportionate amount of in-car air pollution because they rely heavily on opening their windows for ventilation, finds a first of its kind study from the University of Surrey.
In a study published by the Science of the Total Environment journal, a global team of researchers led by Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) investigated air pollution exposure levels for commuters in 10 different global cities – Dhaka (Bangladesh), Chennai (India), Guangzhou (China), Medellín (Colombia), São Paulo (Brazil), Cairo (Egypt), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Blantyre (Malawi), and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania).
The research team investigated PM2.5 and PM10 exposure levels inside vehicles during peak hours in the morning and evening, as well as off-peak hours in the middle of the day. The scientists measured how exposure levels changed when drivers used recirculation systems, fans and simply opened the windows.
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