Particulate air pollution (PM2.5) remains the world’s greatest external risk to human health, according to EPIC’s latest Air Quality Life Index report. Yet, the countries that are most impacted by air pollution lack the fundamental resources to combat it. Asia and Africa contribute 92.7 percent of life years lost due to pollution. But according to OpenAQ, just 6.8 and 3.7 percent of governments in Asia and Africa, respectively, provide fully open air quality data. That same type of information is available in 69.2 percent of Europe, the United States and Canada, which contribute only 4.1 percent of life years lost to pollution. Sustained air quality monitoring is an inexpensive way to lay critical groundwork for policy action.
Further, the Clean Air Fund estimates that $63.8 million was deployed worldwide in 2021 by philanthropic foundations to combat outdoor air pollution. Europe, the United States and Canada received 60.4 percent of those funds—$34 million. Yet, the entire continent of Africa received less than $300,000 in philanthropic funds for air pollution reduction that same year (i.e. roughly the current price of a single-family home in the United States). Africa and Asia combined (not including India and China) received just 3 percent of the philanthropic funds. And, while India and China received a significant amount more—35.2 percent—their slice of the philanthropic pie was still almost half that of Europe, the United States and Canada.