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U.S. to monitor urban air pollution in India, Vietnam, Mongolia

The U.S. government hopes measuring and publicizing air-pollution levels in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (above) will spur policymakers into action.

The U. S. government has long measured urban air pollution in its own cities. Now it plans to add foreign metropolises such as Delhi, Ho Chi Minh City and Ulaanbaatar to its regimen.

Steve Baragona reports for Voice of America that the State Department will install air quality monitors in select diplomatic missions and release its findings to the public. The program may be expanded to African cities.

“The aim is to provide important health information for U. S. government employees overseas, as well as for locals,” he writes. “And U. S. officials said it may help inspire citizens to call for change.” Another goal is to foster improved international cooperation on environmental issues. The effort comes as India grapples with pollution levels considered more dangerous than in China.

Secretary of State John Kerry noted during the February 18 announcement that the U. S. initially received pushback from Chinese authorities years ago when the American embassy in Beijing began tracing air toxins. The Chinese government reversed itself after citizens who reviewed the pollution figures demanded action, he said. 

Voice of America

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