The Lebanese city of Jounieh was listed among the world's top 50 pollution hotspots in a groundbreaking Greenpeace analysis of new satellite data revealing the largest NO2 air pollution hotspots across six continents.
The analysis points the finger at coal and transport as the two principal sources of emissions, with NO2 being a dangerous pollutant in and of itself and also contributes to the formation of PM2.5 and ozone, two of the most dangerous forms of air pollution.
With hotspots across six continents, the satellite imagery shows the global extent and cross-boundary nature of the crisis.
"Governments must urgently step up their act and provide clean and healthy air for all," the study stresses.
“Air pollution is a global health crisis, with up to 95% of the world breathing unsafe air. With hotspots across six continents, ranging from cities to industrial clusters to agricultural areas, this new analysis shows us more clearly than ever before just how big a part of the picture NO2 pollution is,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace Nordic air pollution campaigner.
“Just as we have nowhere to hide from the dirty air impacting our daily lives, so too do the polluters have nowhere to hide. This new satellite is our ‘eye in the sky’, from which the culprits – coal burning industry and oil guzzling transport – cannot escape. It is now up to governments to act, with all the policy measures and technologies we have at our disposal, to clean up our air and save lives.”
The list of the largest NO2 hotspots in the world from 1 June to 31 August this year includes well known coal-fired power plants in South Africa, Germany and India, and numerous coal-burning industrial clusters in China. Cities such as Santiago de Chile, London, Dubai and Tehran also feature prominently in the list of 50 NO2 hotspots due to transport-related emissions.
The world’s biggest hotspot over the three month period is Mpumalanga in South Africa, home to a cluster of a dozen coal fired power plants with a total capacity of over 32 gigawatts owned and operated by Eskom.
Europe’s largest hotspot is found around the Niederaussem coal plant in Germany, followed by the transport emissions hotspot covering London.
Check the full list of the largest pollution hotspots here