Global air quality

See how Greater Sydney compares to the world

The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides global guidance on limits for key air pollutants that pose health risks. As one of Australia’s largest cities, Greater Sydney’s air quality (as measured by annual average PM2.5) compares favourably to many similar sized cities internationally. Even when faced with serious challenges like severe bushfires, Greater Sydney’s air quality returns to a good level, in line with WHO guidelines.

While traffic is only one of the many factors influencing Greater Sydney’s air quality, we are committed to maintaining high air quality standards through the effective management of our transport systems - playing our part in safeguarding the health of our communities.

  • WHO revised its recommended guideline for annual average exposure in 2021 to PM2.5 from 10µg/m3 to 5µg/m3, while retaining 10µg/m3 as a recommended interim target.
  • The current annual Australian standard for PM2.5 is 8µg/m3, with a goal to reduce it to 7µg/m3 by 2025.
  • There are also countries like the United States that set their current standard at 9 µg/m3.

Our interactive map shows how Sydney and other NSW regional centres’ air quality levels (measured in PM2.5) compare with other locations around Australia and the world.

Bar chart Interactive 2D map Interactive 3D map

For NSW live air quality data in your local area, visit the Department of Planning and Environment website.

For NSW road air quality monitoring data, visit our projects page.

Find out more in Sydney’s air quality fact sheet.

* Source: World Health Organisation and Australian state governments, see site footer for full disclaimers and details.

Air quality in Sydney and internationally

Source: World Health Organisation, see site footer for full disclaimers and details. This excludes exceptional air quality events such as bushfires.

Tips: Click a 2D circle or 3D bar to compare that city's emissions levels to Sydney. Change the data style and toggle the cities shown using the controls in the top left of map.