The most popular question on the BBC’s World News quiz is: Which country has the best air quality?
And it’s a big ask, says air quality expert Professor John Allen.
But Professor Allen says that in terms of quality of life, the answer is the US.
His top 10 destinations are in North America.
Australia has been ranked No 1.
The UK is No 2, but is ranked as having the worst air quality in the world.
The top 10 places in the rankings are: North America Australia Canada France Japan Spain Switzerland Austria Germany Italy Portugal The United States has the highest air pollution levels in the developed world.
“We are really not a healthy country in many ways, and that’s one of the things that we should be looking at in terms the future,” Professor Allen told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“There are so many of us that are sick, that are not getting the quality of health care that they should be getting.”
Prof Allen says there are a lot of things that the US could do to improve air quality.
But he says the country also has the greatest opportunity to do something about air pollution.
“The US is one of those countries where we have to take a holistic approach to the problem,” he said.
“It’s about making sure we are all getting the health care and the environmental protection that we need.”
Prof Martin, who is also the head of the Institute of Economic and Social Research at the University of Cambridge, said that there are some countries in the region where air quality was improving and other countries where it was worsening.
“If we look at the countries that are getting better and the countries where air pollution is getting worse, we are getting really good results, we have a really good safety net in place, and we can take a long term view to look at what can be done,” he told BBC News.
“But we are not necessarily going to get it done, we need to be aware of the bigger picture.”
Professor Martin says that it’s not just air quality that can make a difference.
“One of the main things is that people are less likely to be ill because they have access to better public transport,” he explained.
“So the way we’re going to try to do that is to make sure that people have access and the quality that they need in public transport.”
The other thing is that the infrastructure in the US is just so much better than in other countries, so we can get much more public transport in the city and then have access in the suburbs.
“Certainly there’s a lot to do about traffic. “
I think there’s lots of things we can do to do a lot more good,” he says.
“Certainly there’s a lot to do about traffic.
In terms of air quality, I think there is a lot we can be doing to make a lot, much more positive change in terms in terms health outcomes and in terms air quality.”