Big Cities Not Necessarily the Big Polluters

Big cities are often associated with pollution. However, if you look at pollution per capita, some of the world’s biggest cities are actually quite green. One key reason is that people in many big cities use efficient, public transportation more and drive less, and transportation is one of the leading causes of pollution worldwide.

Researchers recently examined data from 100 cities in 33 nations to look into these issues in more detail and published their work in the peer-reviewed journal Environment and Urbanization. The basic finding: “While cities across the world were to blame for around 71 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, urban dwellers who can use public transport rather than drive helped to lower per capita emissions in some cities.”

Sprawling Denver’s emissions were found to be almost twice as much as New York’s per capita and were also much higher than Shanghai’s, Paris’, and Athens’.

“This is mainly attributable to New York’s greater density and much lower reliance on the automobile for commuting,” said the study.

For more on the study, check out: Big cities are not always biggest polluters.

Related Story: Latin American Green City Index Unveiled

Photo Credits: doug.siefkin; ecstaticist

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Written by Zach

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

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