With industrialization always increasing on a global scale, it’s no surprise that overall air quality has dropped significantly in recent years. Still, the results from a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) are quite concerning, as News.com.au reports. The study examined air pollution levels in 1,600 cities across 19 countries that involved exhaustive findings on the concentration of fine particulate pollution — this quantity, measured in a unit called PM2.5, is considered the best indicator of assessing negative health impacts from bad air quality.
Here we provide a list of the ten countries with the worst air quality, along with some advice on how to keep the air around you as healthy as possible.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 101 ug/m3
Urban air pollution is by far the biggest factor in this country, affecting a high percentage of its 180 million citizens. There were almost five million cases of lower respiratory tract problems reported by children under five years old alone.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 92 ug/m3
Despite being one of the world's wealthiest countries, Qatar is also one of its most polluted, according to EcoWatch. That all makes sense when considering the opulent tendencies often associated with its business sector, as frequent air traffic creates a great deal of its total pollution.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 84 ug/m3
Kabul accounts for a great deal of the country’s bad air quality — over 3000 people die from pollution-related illnesses every year in the city alone. The city’s high poverty level also contributes to this statistic, as many citizens burn unhealthy resources like tires for fuel.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 79 ug/m3
One of the most troubling nations on this list, Bangladesh has three cities in the top 20 most polluted in the world. In the last decade alone, the country’s air quality has plummeted by 60%.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 76 ug/m3
One-upping Bangladesh, Iran has four cities in the list of the world’s top 20 most polluted. Its general congestion and traffic issues, along with a booming oil and gas extraction industry, account for this problem.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 74 ug/m3
Known for its storied history, Egypt has an economy that has stayed in the past, sticking with a fossil-fuel platform that has increased industrialization. In Cairo, residents inhale 20 times the tolerable amount of air pollution on a daily basis.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 64 ug/m3
Though Mongolia may be known for its natural beauty, this is not reflected in its pollution levels. Due to the freezing winters and the general lack of energy alternatives, there persists an unhealthy reliance on coal.
8. United Arab Emirates
Average PM2.5 pollution: 61 ug/m3
In a way, it almost makes sense that a country that’s profited so much from the oil and gas industries has air that suffers because of these same industries. “Car-free days” have even been scheduled in an effort to address this issue.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 59 ug/m3
India’s extreme class divide — rampant poverty paired with exorbitant wealth — as well as its massive total population have both contributed greatly to its unhealthy air. New Delhi, whose air pollution is 60 times higher than a level considered safe, has the worst air quality of any city in the world.
Average PM2.5 pollution: 57 ug/m3
Despite its relatively small total population of 1.3 million, Bahrain’s overall high income accounts for its well-above average emissions from industrial ventures.
There’s no denying that air pollution is a sneaky, serious problem that negatively impacts millions upon millions of people worldwide. It’s an issue that often doesn’t receive enough publicity for its worldwide severity, perhaps because it doesn’t feel as urgent as other health issues. Despite this, it’s an issue that can and should be addressed, both on an individual and global scale.
In addition to making concerted efforts to change our dependence on fossil fuels and other harmful forms of energy, it’s important that individuals make sure that they themselves stay safe. Investing in an air purifier, such as one from Rabbit Air, can help you to do just this.
With the proven ability to clean a room’s air once every thirty minutes, these devices will have your home feeling fresh and toxin-free. Do yourself a favor, and breathe easy.