It’s hard to carry out and enforce air quality standards for a few main reasons:
- Technological and economic limits: High-cost technology and infrastructure upgrades are often needed to reduce air pollution. This can be a major barrier, especially for regions with few resources.
- Political will and public support: Political will and public support is needed to choose air quality over other competing interests.
- Monitoring and available data: Monitoring air quality and collecting correct data can be hard. This is even more true in areas with limited monitoring infrastructure. This can make it hard to assess compliance with air quality standards and enforce regulations.
- Boundary-crossing air pollution: Air pollution does not respect political boundaries. Pollution from one country or region can affect close-by areas.
- Enforcement capacity: Governments must have the capacity to enforce air quality standards. This includes to conduct inspections, issue fines or penalties, and prosecute violators. However, in some places, agencies may lack the resources, staff, and/or legal authority to enforce air quality standards well.
- Limited public awareness: The public must know about the impact of air quality before it become relevant to their daily lives. If the public doesn’t know there’s a problem, they won’t demand compliance with air quality standards.
Sustained efforts from governments, the private sector, and civil society is needed to improve air quality and protect public health.