Air pollution issues are not new to the Emirates. The country was named “country with the world’s worst air” by the World Bank’s annual 2015 report on global environmental indicators, known as the “Little Green Data Book”. The UAE ranked even worse than China or India, two countries famous for their bad air pollution and that usually lead this negative “competition”. According to the World Bank’s report, the UAE’s air contained 80 micrograms of pollutants per cubic meter at the time, which was slightly higher than China’s at 73 micrograms and almost three times India’s result, with 32 micrograms.
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It will be difficult to tackle air pollution without a united political front. As well as a comprehensive approach, there is also a desperate need for closer regional cooperation, which in the current political climate is unlikely. If the situation continues to deteriorate, air pollution will become one of the most pressing political and security issues facing the Islamic Republic.