Cities, Air Quality, and Sustainable Development Goal 11
Rapid urban population growth and increasing demand for key infrastructure services has resulted in deteriorating air quality in many cities around the world. This article discusses air quality in the context of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Exposure to air pollution is linked to a number of health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. These health outcomes also result in significant economic losses. One of the targets for meeting SDG 11 is to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities by 2030, and this includes improving air quality. Given current demographic and economic projections, many cities around the world are likely to face important challenges in addressing air pollution. Since air quality plays a critical role in sustainable urban development, many cities have implemented air quality monitoring networks to assess the risks associated with this environmental hazard. The increasing availability of low-cost, portable air quality monitors offers the potential to generate additional data to identify pollution hotspots and help communities avoid exposure. In addition, a number of innovative policies in areas such as public transit and energy are available to address this critical issue.