10 capital city break destinations with the cleanest air

As London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into effect today, people will be hoping that the pollution levels in London will continue to decline.

For many, the current rates of decrease are not happening fast enough, with two million people in the city being exposed to illegal levels of pollution in the air.

In 2019, the annual pollution limits have not yet been breached, despite being exceeded within days of the new year in 2017 and 2018.

The levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air are a significant health problem for many and are prompting many holidaymakers to search for destinations with less-polluted air, giving their lungs a break.

  • 52% of holidaymakers, representing more than 26.5 million UK adults, said that holidays abroad are essential to their physical and mental wellbeing and, without them, their work-life balance would be negatively impacted
    • For those aged 35-54, this statistic rockets to an impressive 58%, meaning almost three-fifths of Generation X would be negatively impacted mentally and physically by the lack of a holiday abroad
  • When asked how much of their holiday spending money would be spent on wellbeing excursions, the average value was more than £176 per person
    • This equates to 43% of estimated spending money being allocated on enhancing the wellness enriching aspects of a holiday

Travel money provider WeSwap analysed the data available regarding air pollution worldwide and has pulled together its top 10 capital city break destinations for those of us looking to breathe clean:

  1. Stockholm, Sweden – in a country that is heavily invested in green technology and environmentalism, Sweden’s capital aims to be fossil fuel free by 2050 and has cut carbon emissions by 25% since 1990
  2. Wellington, New Zealand – the most populous city in New Zealand, Wellington is known for its greenery, outdoor lifestyle, and, now, its fresh air
  3. Canberra, Australia – a quiz favourite, Canberra is a small capital city but boasts some of the cleanest air in the world
  4. Ottawa, Canada – this city’s 126 sq-mile green belt and encouragement of cycling and ride-sharing means the air in this city is unrivalled in the UK
  5. Edinburgh, Scotland – excluding Stockholm, Edinburgh’s air is the cleanest air in Europe
  6. Montevideo, Uruguay – known for its laidback way of life, Montevideo is the greenest and cleanest capital in South America
  7. Tallinn, Estonia – the construction of this city has meant that driving is practically impossible. Consequently, the city boasts some of the cleanest air in all of Europe
  8. Helsinki, Finland – promoting cycling and green energy means that this Scandinavian capital is great for air cleanliness, with goals to eliminate motor vehicle ownership by 2025
  9. Monaco – despite being famed with fast cars, Monaco’s lack of industry and small population makes its one of cleanest capitals in the world
  10. Madrid, Spain – with a preference for public transport and the benefits of being on a slightly raised plateau mean this European destination has some of the lowest pollution levels of any city on Earth
About lyndahamiltonparker 444 Articles
Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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