What it's about:
Air pollution is ramping up crime in cities worldwide, scientists have concluded after reviewing the influence of poor air quality on human behaviour.
Researchers in the United States and Britain have discovered a link between rising air pollution levels and increases in crimes such as shoplifting and pick-pocketing in urban areas, according to an article on The Conversation website.
A recent London School of Economics study comparing crime and pollution data from the London boroughs found that a 10 point rise in the Air Quality Index (AQI) - which analyses how clean or polluted the air is each day - increases the crime rate in the capital by 0.9 percent.
Another study reviewing the link between air pollution and crime in 9,360 U.S. cities argued that a polluted environment induces anxiety, which in turn can lead to an increase in criminal behaviour.
Both studies concluded that reducing air pollution in cities could result in a lower crime rate.
Why it's noteworthy:
Despite countries pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, air pollution levels remain high in many countries.
Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air, according to the World Health Organisation. Around 7 million people die every year from exposure to air pollution, the agency estimates.
The negative impact of air pollution on our health has long been flagged, but now there is growing evidence that a polluted environment also influences human behaviour.
Initial studies suggest that the adoption of sustainable environmental policies could help lower crime rates in cities and promote social as well as physical wellbeing.
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