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Most Polluted Countries

Most Polluted Countries
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The State of Air Quality: The World's Most Polluted Countries

Air pollution poses a profound threat to the health and wellbeing of people worldwide. The annual average concentration of PM2.5, microscopic particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the lungs, contributes significantly to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Although there has been a gradual improvement in air quality in some parts of the world, several countries consistently flout the World Health Organisation's (WHO) exposure recommendation, directly affecting the quality of human life and ecosystems.

Amongst the recent data collected, some key findings stand out:

  • Bangladesh, with an average PM2.5 concentration of 83.3 µg/m³, ranks as the most polluted country. This pollution level is nearly eight times the WHO's annual exposure recommendation, clearly posing severe health risks to its population.
  • Asian countries dominate the list of most polluted countries with Pakistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and India standing amongst the top five, signifying a pressing need for adopting cleaner fuels and industrial processes, and improving waste management.
  • The Middle East does not lag far behind in air pollution levels. The data indicates Bahrain, with an average PM2.5 value of 46.8 µg/m³, to be the most polluted country in this region, followed closely by the United Arab Emirates.
  • China, once infamous for its polluted cities, has notably improved its air quality over the past decade. However, it still ranks 11th on the list, with a PM2.5 concentration of 39.12 µg/m³.
  • In contrast, the United States falls on the cleaner end of the spectrum, maintaining an average PM2.5 concentration of 9.04 µg/m³, which is within permissible limits set by WHO.

It is crucial to underline that the path to clean air is embroiled in socio-economic factors, including national wealth, urban development, industrial activities, and local climate, among others. Monitoring these key metrics and urgently understanding their implications allow for necessary steps towards healthier, cleaner air.

10 Most Polluted Countries

Ranking as the most polluted country is Bangladesh, with a PM2.5 concentration of 83.30 µg/m³. This value is a staggering sixteen times over the WHO's recommended maximum permissible atmospheric particulate matter, posing an alarming risk to public health. 

The second and third positions are held by Pakistan and Mongolia, with PM2.5 concentrations of 65.81 µg/m³ and 62.00 µg/m³, respectively. 

Afghanistan and India respectively rank fourth and fifth on this list. Both countries have comparable PM2.5 concentrations, with Afghanistan at 58.80 µg/m³ and India closely tailing at 58.08 µg/m³. The sixth position is taken by Indonesia, with a PM2.5 concentration level of 51.71 µg/m³.

Coming in seventh is Bahrain, the most polluted country in the Middle East, with a PM2.5 concentration of 46.80 µg/m³, which is closely trailed by Nepal at 44.46 µg/m³.

Uzbekistan ranks ninth on the list with a PM2.5 value of 41.20 µg/m³, indicating significant air pollution concerns for the Central Asian nation. Finally, in the tenth position is Iraq, registering a PM2.5 concentration of 39.60 µg/m³.

10 Most Polluted countries (by average PM2.5 concentration):

  1. Bangladesh - 83.30 µg/m³
  2. Pakistan - 65.81 µg/m³
  3. Mongolia - 62.00 µg/m³
  4. Afghanistan - 58.80 µg/m³
  5. India - 58.08 µg/m³
  6. Indonesia - 51.71 µg/m³
  7. Bahrain - 46.80 µg/m³
  8. Nepal - 44.46 µg/m³
  9. Uzbekistan - 41.20 µg/m³
  10. Iraq - 39.60 µg/m³

By Country

Full Data Set

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