‘Air quality so poor that it’s like smoking nearly 2 cigarettes’; Denver has the 10 worst air quality in the world

U.S.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, CO – AUGUST 26: Smoke from the Grizzly Creek Fire blankets Glenwood Canyon and Interstate 70 on August 26, 2020 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The fire, which is at over 50% containment, has burned over 30,300 acres and forced a two-week closure of Interstate 70. The closure of the interstate, which serves as a main highway between the Western Colorado Rockies and Denver, harmed businesses and the tourism industry as no traffic was able to pass into Glenwood Canyon. Wildfires burning across the state have contributed to air quality warnings. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

DENVER (NewsNation Now) — Itchy eyes? Scratchy throat? Runny nose? It’s not a surprise if you’re in Denver. As of Thursday morning, the city has the 10th worst air quality in the world.

The rest of the top 10 are all international, ranging from cities in Russia to Afghanistan.

Krasnoyark, Russia came in at number 1 for worst air quality with a ranking of 210 on the U.S. air quality index. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was number two, with a ranking of 171.

Other U.S. cities to get a mention on the list include Salt Lake City, Utah at number 15, Los Angeles at 36 and Detroit at 38.

The rankings were created by IQ Air an organization providing real-time air quality updates on a global scale.

The group claimed 7 million people are dying every year from air pollution and 91% of the world’s population lives in a place with unhealthy air.

When it comes to clean air, San Francisco ranked number 1 for cleanest city.

What to do if you’re in a city with poor air quality?

Here are some tips from the American Lung Association:

  • Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. When the air is bad, walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym or use an exercise machine. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
  • Always avoid exercising near high-traffic areas. Even when air quality forecasts are green, the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels up to one-third a mile away.
  • Use less energy in your home. Generating electricity and other sources of energy creates air pollution. By reducing energy use, you can help improve air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy independence and save money! Check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s easy tips for conserving energy at home.
  • Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. Use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.
  • Don’t burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.
  • Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars, though engines sold since 2011 are cleaner.
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors and support measures to make all public places tobacco-free.

NewsNation affiliate KDVR contributed to this report

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