The Surprising Byproduct of Conflict in the Middle East—Cleaner Air

csm logoAfter increasing steadily for years, air pollution in the Middle East dropped off dramatically around 2010, and it has been plummeting ever since.

Unfortunately, the cleaner air is not, by and large, a result of pollution-control measures. Rather, it’s an effect of the unrest, political upheaval, and armed conflict in the region.

That’s according to a paper published in the journal Science, the first to propose a correlation between the political climate and the atmosphere in the Middle East.

Specifically, the study examined levels of nitrogen dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and a chemical that plays a role in the formation of ground-level ozone. It found that, between 2005 and 2010, the Middle East had the world’s fastest growing air pollution emissions, in line with its economic growth.

By Husna Haq at The Christian Science Monitor

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