Megacities Pose Serious Health Challenge
Rapid urbanization will take a heavy toll on public health if city planning and development do not incorporate measures to tackle air pollution, warns a new study. The report, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC), was launched in Beijing in September as part of the IGAC Open Science Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry in the Anthropocene.
A striking point in the report, says Liisa Jalkanen, head of the WMO’s Atmospheric Environment Research Division, is how quickly megacities — metropolitan areas with populations of more than 10 million — are rising in developing countries. There are now 23 megacities in the world, compared with just two 60 years ago. Just over half of the population currently dwells in cities, and with the urban population expected to nearly double by 2050, that proportion is projected to approach 70%. “Almost all this growth will take place in the developing world,” says Jalkanen.