It’s easy for skeptics to say “well, it’s not MY pollution that’s causing the problem.” Fact is, the whole globe is working hard to destroy itself. (Not hyperbole, just something I wouldn’t usually say except for it being a grim evening.)
“Australia’s power stations are some of the dirtiest in the world because they are allowed to emit up to eight times more air pollution that power stations in China,” said Moylan to the Australian Associated Press.
Even though China ranked second in the world amongst the worst sources of toxic air pollution, it was complimented in the report, along with the U.S., rapidly reducing emissions.
“They have achieved this by switching to clean energy sources and particularly China achieved it through dramatically improving the emission standards and enforcement for SO2 control,” the executive summary says.
Russia had the single worst polluting hotspot from its Norilsk smelter complex, followed by a power plant in South Africa. In fact, the Mpumalanga province in South Africa is home to 12 coal-fired power plants, which makes it the most toxic sulfur dioxide region hotspot in the world, according to a Greenpeace statement.
“These pollutants can cause childhood asthma, lung disease, cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues,” said Ben Ewald, a doctor with Doctors for the Environment Australia, to the Guardian.
The report was compiled after an analysis of hotspots detected by NASA Ozone Monitoring Instrument satellite data that captured more than 500 major source points of SO2 emissions across the globe.