Monitoring Air Quality in Low-Income and Lower Middle-Income Countries

Published on 1 November 2020

Air pollution is a global environmental health threat, contributing to an estimated 3-7 million deaths per year. This rapid literature review surveys academic and grey literature on air quality monitoring in low-income (LICs) and lower middle-income countries (LMICs).

Despite links between exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution and negative health impacts, there is paucity of long-term, appropriately calibrated data measuring air quality in LICs and LMICs. A number of methods of air quality monitoring are utilised to assess levels of air pollution. Air pollution affects all regions of the world, in a context of rapid urbanisation, the WHO estimated that between 2008 and 2013, urban air pollution levels increased by 8% and are expected to rise further given rapid urban development.

Whilst most studies exploring air pollution monitor outdoor levels, indoor air quality is also a concern, particularly in households where vulnerable groups may be present. Despite concerted efforts to manage air quality globally, air pollution remains one of the world’s largest environmental health risks.

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