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United States embassies will start measuring the air quality in several foreign cities starting with outposts in India, Vietnam, and Mongolia, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced today.
The initiative, which intends to inform American ex-pats and travelers of health threats, developed after the U.S. government found similar reports in Beijing lead to dramatic action.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing started measuring air quality in 2008 and posted the results daily on the Internet. Chinese citizens started following the reports, which eventually pressured the local government into taking action.
The program will specifically measure the microscopic particles that contribute to haze and lead to respiratory problems.
“As it expands to more and more posts around the world in different countries, this effort is going to provide Foreign Service officers, military men and women, and U.S. citizens living or just visiting abroad with better information about the air that they are breathing so that they can make healthier choices and hopefully mitigate some of the harmful impacts that I mentioned,” Secretary Kerry said at the signing ceremony.