With time we’ve depleted our natural resources. As the population grows, we are headed towards a bleak future. It is unsure whether the current state of our environment is a testament to our wasteful habits or a warning sign to turn back before it’s too late. In providing for the growing needs, some cities have ended up in a much darker place.
We’ve included some interesting facts along the way. Did you know Delhi’s air quality is the equivalent of smoking 50 cigarettes per day? They’re not even the most polluted city!
Here’s the list of the best and worst cities globally for air quality and pollution.
Most polluted cities in the world:
- Kanpur. As the hospitals overflowing with cases of respiratory diseases, Kanpur holds the spot of the most polluted city in the world. The industrial setup may cater to the 3 million people in the town. It also contributes to 76% of the air pollution during the winter season. Moreover, biomass burning and car emissions have worsened an already pressing issue. With 600 new patients struggling with respiratory ailments each month, the damage has tripled in the last five years.
- Faridabad. With thousands of vehicles crowding the city, Faridabad is hardly the picture of a futuristic city. As the second-most polluted city globally, it’s more so a dystopian vision. The situation worsens during harvest seasons when the pollution rate crosses 170. A source back in 2003 reported that if the problem continues to decline within the next five years, newborns will have respiratory issues.
- Gaya. Construction is a potentially beneficial sector for a developing town. In Gaya, it comes at the cost of being the third-most polluted city in the world. Concerned officials report that 90% of cancer patients 30 years ago were avid smokers. At present, the rest are only inhaling the city’s air with “only” 50% smoking. Diesel vehicles and coal-burning further add fire to the cauldron.
- Varanasi. A city flooding with cultural and religious importance holds fourth place in the most polluted cities in the world. The blame is shared between industries and vehicles spewing harmful emissions. The situation has been out of hand for a while. The authorities reported in 2015 that they haven’t had a single good air quality day all year.
- Patna. The locals have greatly suffered over the years as the air quality has worsened. Currently, Patna is the fifth most polluted city in the world. This has meant a 30 to 40% increase in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases cases for the people. The lives of people have been greatly jeopardized by vehicular and kiln emissions.
- Delhi. The Indian capital might harbor about 19 million people, but its air quality bets against their survival. Living a day in Delhi is the equivalent of smoking 50 cigarettes every day. The sixth-most polluted city in the world suffers from vehicular emissions and crop burning. To make matters worse, data from 2017 shows 27 deaths due to respiratory diseases each day.
- Lucknow. You can’t put a price on human life, but you can rest assured that urbanization comes at a cost much close to it. Lucknow bears life-threatening air quality, which means most residents suffer from asthma and COPD.
- Bamenda. Cutting down trees was never a celebrated idea, but it has been life-threatening for the residents of Bamenda. Deforestation and poor air quality management have led to rapidly worsening air quality. Cameroon has reported 7000 deaths each year due to pollution alone.
- Agra. Home to one of the world’s seven wonders, Agra has seen better days. Over the years, the city has fallen victim to suspended dust particles. It very much stems from inappropriate waste disposal and vehicular fumes. This means a record of more than 2000 people reporting to hospitals within 48 hours in November 2021.
- Gurgaon. As the city develops, people pay the price of moving into the modern ages. The pollution has aggravated over the years as diesel vehicles and industrialization hold the city hostage. In 2018, the city offered only three days of good quality air. Long-term exposure to polluted air has resulted in a 30% increase in patients suffering from respiratory issues.
- Muzaffarpur. An astonishing 35,000 people suffer from respiratory problems. Even more, 50,000 people fall victim to skin-related issues. The culprit behind it all is the worsening air quality of Muzaffarpur. The experts blame the problem on using kerosene burning for domestic use and emissions from vehicles.
- Peshawar. Improper waste management and vehicle control are among several other contributors to the air pollution problem of Peshawar. With 550 factories dealing in steel production, the city is a hub for respiratory issues. Experts link vehicular emissions to increasing lung diseases in the area.
- Rawalpindi. A city of over 2 million people that promises a commercial and modern future. However, fulfilling that promise has jeopardized the residents’ presence. Increasing vehicles and industrial setups have deteriorated the air quality with harmful fumes. The plastic manufacturing plants in motion have made the environment unbreathable and suffocating.
- Jaipur. Providing sustenance is a noble profession, but ineffective crop-clearing measures have rendered the sustenance mission useless. The farmers burn the crops at the end of the harvest season, contributing to Jaipur pollution. The city has had such a stronghold over the residents’ respiratory systems. They claim that they start feeling better once they leave the city.
- Kampala. The city is growing at a favorable rate, promising a hopeful tomorrow. If it continues to disregard the failures in its management, the air pollution will worsen dramatically. The unpaved roads and burning of waste is common practice, making the air unsafe to breathe in.
- Patiala. As the living conditions worsen, the residents are advised to sprinkle fresh water into their eyes to battle the dreadful air quality. Patiala is a city celebrated for its culture and traditions. Lately, it makes the news for the pollution instead. A government hospital in the city reported 87 cases of acute respiratory distress in seven days alone.
- Jodhpur. Within Asia, air pollution is primarily the work of industrialization or other ineffective farming practices. Where your geography works against you, matters are made worse. Jodhpur is susceptible to sand storms from the Thar desert, making life a living nightmare for the locals. In addition to deteriorating health, the households exposed to high vehicular pollution had a greater chance of developing COPD.
- Narayanganj. The sky is no longer a pleasant blue instead of a grey cloud that always hovers over the city. The fumes from industrial setup and brick kilns have held the locals hostage. The government has made several attempts to get hold of the problem, but no significant change is seen. Instead, the county’s air quality problem claims about 0.2 million people annually.
- Baoding. For a country that is the face of international economy and business, Baoding is a dark spot on the country’s name. The locals spend most days surrounded by a sea of smog. In addition, the coal power plants and numerous vehicles have deteriorated the air quality. As a result, traditional Chinese doctors report increased patients with breathing problems and coughs.
- Doha. The Middle East sits on acres of fossil fuels, so it comes as no surprise that air pollution prevails in the region. However, Doha reports specifically high levels of pollution. The country claims that the air quality has had no adverse effect on the residents’ health. Asthma at an increasing rate suggests otherwise.
- Ulaanbaatar. Internal heating has made life comfortable for people living in colder regions. With about a 1.5 million population, the comfort comes at a cost. Ulaanbaatar has a harsh winter. Naturally, internal heating and fuel consumption increase during the season. This causes air pollution to spike as more solid fuel is burned. In addition, people use smoke-rich fuels. It significantly contributes to air pollution, were more susceptible to respiratory symptoms.
- Jinan. China’s attempt at industrialization has been an economic success, but the people and the environment continue to suffer health. The coal power plants and vehicles release harmful fumes into the atmosphere. These fumes increase the risk of developing respiratory diseases and a higher mortality rate.
- Shijiazhuang. China takes pride in providing its people with an enriched lifestyle. Although its neighbors make scheduled power cuts, China creates more than sufficient energy. However, the non-renewable energy practices have contributed to a worsening air quality problem. The children have suffered from growing pollution as their visits to the hospital for respiratory ailments increase.
- Karachi. The city is the industrial center of the entire country and a pot of culture and values. However, the ‘city of lights’ has fallen dark due to a thick cloud of smog and dust particles swimming in the air. The deteriorating air quality has meant higher hospitalization for cardiovascular and respiratory concerns. Most ER visits are a credit to ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and mitral stenosis.
- Hengshui. Amongst the most polluted cities in China, Hengshui skies rarely see a coat of fresh blue. Instead, the city is covered in a thick cloud of smoke and dust particles. In addition, particular substances in the polluted air have caused a higher rate of deaths (28.36%) and more significant hospitalization (27.02%).
- Xingtai. The city has many industrial setups, where large factories spew out harmful fumes every passing minute. The vehicular intensity and airflow of the area certainly make matters worse. People have turned to arrange gatherings within the house. It’s because spending a long time in the open air could have serious repercussions.
- Anyang. As the heart of China’s steel production, Anyang has done plenty for the country’s economy. However, the same industries have worsened the city’s environment. People have often complained that the air feels unbreathable. It’s an exceptionally high risk for the more vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and pregnant women.
- Liaocheng. The residents of Liaocheng dream of clear skies and white puffy clouds. Instead, their reality involves a thick layer of grey and dusty air. With more factories and vehicles, the atmosphere has deteriorated for years now. However, the impact is now visible to the naked eye and felt by the respiratory systems.
- Jiaozuo. For a city nicknamed ‘the coal city,’ high rates of the polluted atmosphere is precisely the outcome you’d expect. In addition to the coal power plants and factory setup, the wind patterns make it easy for dust to be blown in from neighboring areas. The problem has been a long time coming, but no significant change has been made to the current practices. Inefficiency in overseeing the situation continues to rob people of their cardiovascular and respiratory health.
- Al Wakrah. With its vast deserts and fossil beds, the gulf is a picture of a dystopian future. Along with power plants that release harmful gases into the air, frequent sandstorms aggravate the air pollution problems. Inhaling the dust particles has made multiple children and adults develop allergies. They’ve also become more prone to a sore throat and cold.
- Khulna. The city plays a vital role in its economy with its industrial setup and residential infrastructure. However, it fails to provide the residents with a suitable environment to breathe in. As the factories’ vehicular emissions and fumes overpower the environment, Khulna’s atmosphere has gradually worsened. Additionally, the sky rarely clears up with low annual rainfall.
- Xinxiang. With a city of about 6 million people, the requirement for renewable energy grows direr. The lives of Xinxiang’s residents are jeopardized as more coal power plants are set up. But that’s not all. Coal mining has made matters drastically worse. To further add to the problem, sandy winds blow throughout the years. It worsens respiratory problems.
- Nagpur. Most Indian cities undergo temperature inversion during the winter season, worsening air quality. As the layer of smog lingers throughout winters, burning garbage and winter festivities make matters worse. The pollution has life unbearable for the perfectly healthy. It has made things dramatically unpleasant for those who recovered from Covid. They’ve reported experiencing difficulty breathing and severe respiratory illnesses.
- Handan. Creating opportunities and building an empire was bound to cost China, but the price has been set at human life. Growing factories and mills make it impossible for the air to remain clean. As the air pollution increases worse, the residents suffer. In addition, the expected prevalence of esophageal cancer in the region has been linked to the city’s air quality problem.
- Heze. A city is known for cultivating flowers, which have surprisingly high levels of pollution. As the entire country undergoes industrialization, power plants are set up wherever convenient. The fumes from vehicles and factories deteriorate the region’s air quality. It challenges the essential requirement of life; fresh air.
- Ji’ning. For most cities in China, a typical pattern is observed. Any town with a power plant is bound to have high levels of pollutants in the air. Ji’ning is no exception. The power plant in the region contributes to air pollution, which makes the residents sick. Research shows adults living near coal power plants are more likely to suffer from cough and shortness of breath. They also get other respiratory ailments.
- Xianyang. Vehicular emissions are the primary contributor to pollution. It is advised to the residents to use public transport instead. However, the damage has already reached a threatening level. With the city’s overall low temperature and annual rainfall, the pollution settles for a long time. As long as the problem isn’t tackled, its people will continue to suffer at the hands of respiratory illnesses.
- Gazipur. As the rainfall levels reduce in winters, air pollution forms a heavy cloud. The dust from construction sites and fumes from factories and vehicles combine to make the atmosphere unbreathable and toxic. Staying in isn’t an option either, as domestic burning of fuel impacts the indoor environment.
- Dezhou. The cold brings dire challenges, as the residents of Dezhou find it challenging to breathe in the city’s worsening air quality. The power plant produces emissions that aggravate the air conditions and attack the people’s respiratory systems. However, adequate measures have been taken to produce renewable energy.
- Zaozhuang. Where the history of a city is built on coal mining, it’s understandable how the air quality might’ve gotten out of hand. Methane and particulate matter are released during the mining process, destroying air quality. As a result, the people in the city have developed difficulty breathing and other respiratory ailments. Pneumonia is just an example.
- Barisal. Agricultural practices in South Asia involve crop burning after harvesting to clear the land quickly. However, efficiency comes with a significant drawback; smog. Since Barisal is known for cultivating rice, farm clearing has led to a drop in the quality of what people breathe in. As a result, the city’s people grow more susceptible to respiratory diseases.
- Dongying. The city’s petroleum and oil industries form an integral part of the economy, so their operations are crucial. At the hands of these industries, the air quality is compromised. The most vulnerable groups are at risk of severe damage, especially children and the elderly. Whereas shortness of breath and cough is common during winters as the smoke begins to settle.
- Luoyang. With a population of over 6.5 million, Luoyang is overcrowded with vehicles. As a result, the emissions from the cars add to the already staggering factory fumes and worsen the air quality. Data suggests that city residents are more prone to developing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. It’s due to vehicular emissions.
- Al-Ahmadi. Though small by area and population, the town is integral to Kuwait’s economy. It houses the Kuwait National Petroleum Company headquarters, which explains why the city is engulfed in polluted air. Its residents have a tough time as they experience firsthand symptoms of heavily polluted air. It includes things such as a shortage of breath and throat irritation.
- Shouguang. While the city is known for its agriculture, the factory setup of Shouguang is particularly infamous as well. The pollutants released by these factories have been studied to impact lung health. Therefore, the residents often experience asthma-like symptoms and avoid spending too much time outside.
- Zhengzhou. As the capital of the Henan province, Zhengzhou houses over 10 million people. Not only is it a high-demand area, but an economic center for the country. While the city may meet the residential requirement, it fails to provide a safe living space. Despite the city’s modern infrastructure, the inferior air quality makes a living in the city a hassle.
- Luohe. With the country’s growing energy consumption, coal power plants may fulfill the demand. They fail to provide a suitable environment, however. The emission from the power plants and factories in the region pollute the atmosphere. As a result, the air quality suffocates the residents and makes them more likely to develop respiratory problems.
- Shangqiu. The different cities of China race toward building a strong economy. They often sacrifice the health of their residents in the process. Shangqiu is another city with power plants that have highly deteriorated the air quality.
- Weinan. When the air quality crosses a certain threshold, the residents are advised to avoid the outdoors at all costs. Such is the case with Weinan, where even healthy people are at risk of developing severe respiratory ailments. In addition, breathing and heart health may be severely affected if exposed to the air for too long.
- Pingdingshan. In an attempt to make the city more hospitable for its residents, Pingdingshan might’ve gone a step too far. The city is a crucial player in coal mining, explaining the worsening air quality. Apart from multiple mining accidents at the site, the residents are in danger of developing severe respiratory ailments at all times.
- Yanbu. With three major oil refineries and multiple petrochemical plants, Yanbu is crucial in the petroleum industry. While it makes sure to maintain the natural harbor with coral reefs, it fails to consider human life. The gaseous waste from the factories creates the unpleasant atmospheric conditions the residents dread. It’s especially when coupled with the hot climate of the desert.
- Linfen. Building a coal power plant near a residential site is a recipe for failure. It serves as an industrial center with major coal and electricity plants and is an entire cookbook of losses. Linfen is a majorly industry-heavy city, which means the residents are the second priority. The worsening conditions put their respiratory and cardiovascular health at risk.
- Tangshan. The pollution problem affects many areas but industrial more than any other. Tangshan houses multiple industries, crucial to the Chinese economy. It has led to persistent air pollution in the city. However, the government has taken practical steps to battle the problem in recent years.
- Urumqi. The industrial infrastructure is common in major cities of China, so most of them are swimming in polluted air. Urumqi has multiple factory setups, which worsens the issue with the cold climate. The winters support a heavy layer of smog, targeting the respiratory system.
- Kolkata. Cheap fuel and growing vehicles might be good for the economy, but it’s terrible for the environment. The dramatically increasing number of cars in Kolkata and the city’s climate create a dense layer of polluted air. The air quality is particularly worse in sensitive areas near schools and hospitals.
- Beijing. China’s industrial growth hasn’t gone unnoticed, and neither has its pollution problem. Beijing is an economic center surrounded by industrial areas. One-half of the problem is blamed on the city itself, such as vehicular emissions. The other half is blamed on the climatic conditions and wind patterns that drive pollution from surrounding areas.
- Hebi. The city might not be as massive a contributor to energy production as a few others, but it’s certainly on the list. Hebi’s air quality is deteriorating quickly due to the coal power stations. The rate has reduced the lifestyle of the residents as the threat to their health grows with each minute.
- Jinan. You have to throw human life under a bus where you fail to plan infrastructure for a growing population. Jinan’s pollution can largely be blamed on the ever-increasing vehicle density and prevalent traffic problems. During winters, it gets worse for the people, like a thick layer of smog settles atop.
- Laiwu. An industrial setup with over 1 million people is not a good idea. While the production has improved over the years, the air quality has only gotten worse. For the people of Laiwu, this has meant suffocation and a shortage of breath.
- Zigong. Meeting the growing energy demand has never been cheap, but now it might cost the excellent health of Zigong’s residents. The city falls into a thick cloud of polluted air with a power plant set up. While Zigong continues to produce energy, the residents find it challenging to take a breath.
- Riyadh. The country’s industrial center is rich in oil sites, which means cheaper fuel and heavy drilling. Excessive industrial activity has led to the low air quality of the city. Additionally, the country’s hot climate makes rainfall a rare event. This never allows the smoke to clear.
On the one hand, the people race their diesel cars. It only further adds to the problem. On the other hand, the sensitive groups suffer from respiratory problems.
- Anshan. The city is nicknamed ‘China’s capital of iron and steel,’ so it comes as no surprise that the air quality is struggling. An industry-heavy city with multiple factories spewing harmful fumes into the air. The population is more likely to develop respiratory problems at a much early age due to pollution.
- Kaifeng. For a healthy individual, the city advises limited time outside. As for an individual already riddled with respiratory or cardiovascular problems, spending all time indoors is the answer. Moreover, the industrial infrastructure makes it difficult for the residents to maintain a suitable quality of life. Therefore, most people struggle to keep a healthy body.
- Xi’an. Human factors cause most environmental problems at hand. Instead of repairing the damage, nature further adds to the problem every once in a while. Xi’an might be an industrial city undergoing urbanization, which means vehicular and factory emissions are the primary cause. The city is protected from heavy rains and strong winds, which would help disperse the smog.
- Binzhou. A heavily-industrial city falls into a deep cloud of haze without heavy rainfall. As the factories produce toxic fumes, the vehicles emit thick smoke. It all adds up and forms a layer atop.
- Yangquan. With warmth comes relief, but the dreaded haze and smog return as soon as winter comes along. The emissions from the factory and vehicular setup stay in the air. The cold climate and lack of rainfall do little to dissipate the issue. Therefore, people develop diseases like asthma and other respiratory irritations during the colder months.
- Cangzhou. The city combines agriculture, fishery, and industry. As per the air quality chart, one sector continues to dominate. The fumes from coal power plants and particulate substances settle in the air and create a thick cloud of smog. The air quality affects breathing, but it causes throat irritation and eye redness.
- Puyang. Coal-fired power stations outdoors and diesel generators indoors contribute significantly to the Puyang air quality crisis. Where the city produces energy to meet the growing consumption, the people’s health is compromised. The polluted air targets sensitive groups, but healthy people aren’t immune either.
- Tianjin. Industrial processes might significantly contribute to the air pollution problem. However, the low-altitude winds drastically reduce the atmosphere’s ability to clean itself of the pollutants. As a result, the residents experience throat irritation.
- Jiangyin. Industrial cities continue to top the chart as the power plants set up large release amounts of toxic fumes into the air. They form a permanent setting when coupled with cold climates. The residents’ health is severely compromised as the haze settles and pierces their lungs. It makes them more susceptible to respiratory diseases.
- Xuchang. As the largest energy consumer, no number of power plants is sufficient for China. Therefore, every other city in China has a power plant. The coal mining and power industry of Xuchang is the primary reason for the pollution. Another contributor is the tobacco factories in the area, which release massive amounts of toxic fumes into the air.
- Zhoukou. So far, China has shown that the price of a booming economy is decaying the air quality. While the country has successfully marked the global economy, most cities support unbreathable and toxic air. The residents of Zhoukou are no different from other towns. The highly polluted atmosphere compromises their respiratory health and jeopardizes their cardiovascular system.
- Zhumadian. The issue with the air quality in Zhumadian starts with industrial and vehicular fumes and lingers for an indefinite period. It’s due to low rainfall. Human activity produces pollution to a certain level. The atmosphere’s compromised ability to naturally clean itself worsens the problem.
- Lahore. The metropolitan city is an amalgamation of history and modernity. For its residents, it’s a hot oven of toxic fumes. The city’s industrialization has allowed many job opportunities for the locals but has deteriorated the air quality in the process. Further, ineffective crop burning practices and high vehicular density worsen the effect of the pollution. On most days, the residents have difficulty breathing. Their throat itches after spending too much time outdoors.
- Coyahaique. With poor ventilation comes an added responsibility to reduce pollution by artificial means. Coyahaique’s geographic position makes it impossible to clear the smog. Therefore, any fumes released by factories or vehicles are bound to stay for a long time. The locals find themselves restricted to the four walls of their homes as the air quality outdoors reaches a dangerous level on most days.
- Changzhi. The chemical industry in the area is among the significant contributors to pollution. It produces toxic fumes. They linger on for longer during winter climates as there is little rainfall or wind to clear out the haze. The residents find themselves suffocating for a clean atmosphere and developing scratchy throats and red eyes during winters.
- Bafoussam. Keeping the resources available for use is the prime concern for cities undergoing rapid population growth. Once the industries are set up and vehicles are large. The mission is accomplished. However, the mission costs comfort. If allowed for a more extended period, it affects people’s health. The people in the area complain about high volumes of heavy, toxic air lingering in the environment.
- Chittagong. The city provides an opportunity for the residents to grow, being the country’s financial center. It creates hope for the rural areas nearby, which is why large batches of people move to the central city. As the population grows, the use of vehicles and cheap fuel grows. Dust particles from unpaved roads and construction sites add to the heavy layer of pollution settling in the atmosphere. People often experience a sore throat and red eyes as a result, along with long-term respiratory problems.
- Hamad Town. The metric of success for most urban areas is the vehicle count in the area. As the city grew in population and industry, more vehicles were purchased. When coupled with the city’s hot climate, the emissions from cars and industries create an ongoing pollution problem. As a result, the people suffer when undergoing drought or dry periods as the pollution has a more dire effect on their health.
- Langfang is a relatively unheard area within China. It is new to industrialization but already has its own in the game with two oil and gas companies. The fumes from the company make life unbearable for the residents, along with its dry summers. As a result, people often find themselves indoors to avoid directly inhaling the polluted air.
- Sanmenxia. The city is surrounded by several factories, ranging from steel and aluminum to coal and plastic production. These factories release large amounts of toxic fumes. To make matters worse, dust is blown from surrounding areas and unpaved roads. It accumulates to form a heavy cloud of smog atop. People residing in Sanmenxia are likely to experience dry coughs and sore throats. Gradually, it develops into more serious respiratory ailments.
- Taiyuan. If industrialization intends to improve the lifestyle of the residents, then the regulation must be taken into consideration. Inefficiency by the local government in keeping control over the industrial emissions leads to the pollution problem of Taiyuan. As a result, the people suffer and grow more prone to developing severe respiratory and cardiovascular ailments.
- Hamedan. A city that vibrates with culture and celebrates life but fails to consider the impact of a growing population. As more people inhabit the city, the vehicles on the road increase. It means more significant vehicular emissions. Additionally, the use of heavy-duty bikes and trucks has made matters worse. As a result, the same people who enjoy the city feel suffocated as the thick cloud of smoke settles in the atmosphere.
- Islamabad. The capital of Pakistan might be surrounded by natural scenery on all corners. Rapid urbanization has drastically lowered atmospheric quality. Islamabad fails to factor in the growing population and industries on the city’s outskirts. It leads to higher rates of pollution. The residents are advised to limit their time outdoors to minimize exposure to polluted air.
- Tuzla. A landmark of culture and economy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tuzla struggles to clean its air. The city attempts to provide jobs and energy to its residents. In the process, it compromises their health. The coal-powered stations spew harmful substances into the air. When inhaled by the public, it causes damaging health effects.
- Ahmedabad. With over 8 million, large amounts of vehicular emissions are inevitable. The city is an economic center with multiple growth opportunities. As more people inhabit the town cashing in on the options, vehicles and energy consumption grows. As a result, the city residents have shown a higher affinity to diseases like asthma.
- Ma’ameer. Home to the Bahrain petroleum company, Ma’ameer might be satisfying the energy requirement. It has made its air quality unbreathable. The pungent fumes from the factories make the residents nauseous and irritated. They’re more likely to develop severe respiratory illnesses.
- Lukavac. A city with less than 50,000 people carrying a chemical industry on its back. Lukavac might be a small town, but the pollution levels are enormous. As a result, the people in the area have reported commonly struggling with dry coughs and chest pains. Difficulty breathing is also common. Long-term exposure has also increased the chances of developing COPD early.
- Jurong. In satisfying a large majority’s energy consumption requirements, the power plants in Jurong have worsened the air quality. The emissions from the power plants form a thick layer of chemicals in the atmosphere. They often remain trapped due to a lack of heavy rainfall.
- Luzhou. The chemical industry of Luzhou holds economic importance in the region. This is why there is rarely any regulation over the number of fumes spewed into the air. Lack of proper management has worsened air quality over the years. It’s bad for residents who struggle to stay outdoors for more extended periods.
- Xiangyang. Within the houses, residents of Xiangyang burn fuel for domestic use. It deteriorates the quality of the air. This is in no way comparable to the harmful and unregulated fumes released by the factories. They aggravate pollution and make it impossible for the residents to stay in good health.
- Mumbai. On most days, the sea breeze dissipates the polluted particles in the air. As the population grows at an alarming rate, nature has declared surrender. With more vehicles on the road and more industrial setups, the fumes are more harmful than ever. Breathing in the city’s air causes sore throat and dry coughs. In comparison, those exposed to the air for more extended periods develop some form of respiratory issue.
- Manama. There is an inevitable environmental threat with a more industrial setup to support the growing population and job requirements. The fumes of industry mix into the atmosphere and linger until it rains. But due to low rainfall and frequent sandstorms in Manama, the situation has only gotten worse. The dust particles and particulate matter escaping into the cardiopulmonary system, causing severe damage.
- Chengdu. A growing population might signify economic prosperity. It usually means additional responsibility to provide jobs and services. Therefore, Chengdu underwent industrialization. It might have satisfied the job quota but has created alarming environmental problems. The air quality further deteriorates due to the growing number of vehicles on the road.
- Leshan. Creating energy costs more than money. It costs outing human life on the balance. The energy requirement might be satisfied with more power plants, but the air quality maintenance is thrown out the window. As the fumes color the sky gray, people find it difficult to breathe.
- Nanyang. Oil fields and tobacco factories are a recipe for economic success and environmental destruction. The factories and plants release harmful chemicals into the air. It worsens the pollution beyond comprehension without a proper regulation guide. As a result, the residents grow more irritated with the air and experience asthma and dry coughs.
- Tai’an. As more people move into the city, vehicles and energy requirements grow. To cater to the growing demand, more industries are set up. This has been damaging to the air quality. Vehicular emissions and domestic fuel burning further add to the problem. The pollution causes respiratory issues, like asthma. It also causes skin conditions, such as acne and eczema.
- Xining. An industrial center that focuses on multiple sectors, including chemical and petroleum. There’s also a big natural gas and bio-chemicals sector. Xining might be economically thriving, but environmentally it’s struggling to maintain standard air quality levels. The leaders may boast of economic success. The people struggle to breathe and develop more respiratory problems by the minute.
- Jincheng. As a critical player in the coal mining industry, Jincheng is set in its ways. When focusing on making a profit, it’s challenging to overlook the basic requirements. Clean air is just an example. The particles from coal mines settle in the air and gradually build up to further aggravate the pollution problem. As a result, people suffer from skin-related and respiratory issues.
- Jinzhong. The growing population and growing demand for energy consumption might open up more opportunities to set up industries. It comes at the cost of environmental destruction. The deadly fumes cover the air atop and settle, refusing to shift until the activity is regulated.
- Yichang. The growth of a country requires a few sacrifices, may it be the air quality or the residents’ health. Unfortunately, the fumes spewed by the factories are not regulated to halt production. Instead, the air quality is allowed to deteriorate over time while people develop respiratory difficulties.
Dirtiest country in the world: India.
Most of the water bodies carry large amounts of chemical and industrial waste, and the air is grey with vehicular emissions. India stands as the dirtiest country globally.
The country has a heavy-industrial set up to provide for the vastly growing population. Unfortunately, it spews harmful fumes into the air and toxic chemicals into the seas. In addition, the lack of strict regulation and guidelines has worsened the inhabitants’ lives.
Most of the funds are allocated to developing job opportunities and residential complexes in the country. Instead of renewing the outdated train engines and musty public transport, they’re used for that. India fails to put restrictions on diesel and cheap-fueled cars, which release toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Long-term exposure to the contaminated air and water of the country is likely to birth several respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
To massively turn around the pollution problem, strict guidelines should be placed on the frequency and fuel type of vehicles used. Additionally, industrial activity should be kept in check. Investing in an extensive public transport system could also greatly benefit the public and environment alike.
Least polluted cities and countries in the world where you’ll find the cleanest air:
- Zurich. Policymakers have worked tirelessly to provide a better living experience over the last three decades. As a result, the government prioritizes human health and regulates the vehicles and industrial setup; prosperity is inevitable. The country has already issued strict restrictions against HFCs and diesel-fueled cars. However, it strives for an even cleaner environment.
- Hobart. With blue skies and a crisp atmosphere, the reality of Hobart’s residents is much like a dream. The city offers accessible public transport options to reduce the use of vehicles. Further, it maintains firm control over what gets thrown into the atmosphere by the factories. As a result, the region benefits from selling bottled air to the less fortunate areas.
- Reykjavik. With cloudy skies and clean waters, the capital of Iceland is a picture right out of a fairytale. The city houses around 0.1 million people and has a growing economy to support the needs of its residents. The prime focus for its leaders is nurturing a safe and warm living experience. As a result, the people are giddy and healthy.
- Launceston. Sheltered within a valley, Launceston is an ideal place to spend your life away from the vices of the outside world. The city consults the national committee on air pollution to maintain the air quality at an optimum level. In addition to getting ahead of natural fires, the town also checks internal heating systems used to warm up houses.
- Honolulu. Favored by Mother Nature herself, Honolulu is truly a piece of heaven on earth. The city receives plenty of rain and wind, which keeps the overall pollution in check. That doesn’t mean the policymakers have taken a step back. The low population density and lack of a heavy industrial setup are part of a grand scheme to keep the city free of smog.
- Vitoria. An island surrounded by river water on all corners with fresh air and mild temperature is just the escape you’re looking for. The city doesn’t shy away from an industrial setup. It doubles down on restrictions to ensure it continues to provide a decent living experience.
- Bergen. When leaving a mark on the global economy is not your central focus, you tend to cater to the needs of the locals. Bergen maintains its air quality by keeping tabs on vehicular emissions and factory arrangements. With tourism as its primary income source, the city thrives on providing a clean and fresh experience. It’s tucked away from the smog of metropolitan cities.
- Wollongong. It’s imperative that the policymakers and the general public work hand in hand to ensure their city remains free from all pollutants. Wollongong supports an extensive public transport system to reduce traffic congestion and overbearing vehicle frequency. Along with the city’s oceanic climate, the low industrial setting help refocuses the energy on building a better life for the residents.
- Turku. Nurturing a small population of 0.2 million people, Turku focuses on building a clean living experience. The city has eight active monitoring stations that analyze any pollutants in the atmosphere. Even with multiple industries, the town maintains a balance by regulating its activity. It even makes sure the traffic problems are resolved promptly to avoid unnecessary pollutants.
- Funchal. Pollution is primarily the result of large-scale human activities. Humans aren’t the only ones on the receiving end. Funchal understands that all life deserves a clean home. It has national parks that preserve the integrity of the flora on the island and add to its inhabitants’ pristine environment. As a central tourist town, the air quality is a selling feature preserved at all costs.
- Edinburgh. Maintaining a city’s rich culture and heritage often comes at the cost of allowing industries to flourish without strict guidelines. However, Edinburgh is set in its ways and playing by the rules. For example, it has substantial control over vehicular emissions by providing an extensive public transport route. The city also makes sure the inhabitants keep the indoor heating under control.
- Uppsala. Taking care of a population of almost 0.2 million people might not be a difficult task. It provides all the necessities of life while maintaining the utmost quality of life is undoubtedly tricky. Uppsala doesn’t seem to shy away from a challenge. It has made a statement about getting industrial and vehicular emissions under control in recent years. With the biotechnology industry on the rise, the city has placed strict regulations on all manufacturing.
- Halifax. With a growing economy comes a responsibility to not throw the environment under the bus. So far, Halifax has fulfilled this responsibility tremendously. It provides multiple income-earning opportunities to its people. It ensures the economy doesn’t gain the upper hand on the city’s air. In addition, it supports an accessible public transport system.
- Trondheim. Incredible public transport covers all areas within the city and connects to the neighboring cities effortlessly. The need for a vehicle is completely diminished. The people of Trondheim enjoy the city’s remarkable view and breathe in its clean, pollutant-free air.
- Castellon de la Plana. A history rich with castles and forts can’t be undermined by industries spewing harmful fumes into the air. This is why Castellon de le plana keep a strict tab on all industrial activity to ensure it doesn’t affect the air quality. The city’s recently developed public TRAM system makes it incredibly easy to cover great lengths. They do so using environment-friendly means.
- Tampere. With a power plant within the vicinity, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the area’s air quality. Tampere sets an example for others to follow as it regulates the activity, thus controlling the fumes spewed into the air. Tampere facilitates the people with an elaborate public transit system. It consists of bus, light rail, and commuter rail services.
- Adelaide. Keeping the necessary human activities under control might be tricky but planning ahead for natural disasters is trickier. The city has somehow managed to limit vehicle ownership and get the wildfires under control. As a result, the inhabitants live the utmost comfort and peaceful life.
- Vancouver. Before a meager issue becomes a rampant problem. It’s advised to nip it in the bud. Vancouver has introduced policies and regulations that limit industrial activity and greenhouse emissions from the get-go. With effective policymaking, the city provides pleasant living space.
- Glasgow. With a vastly extensive and accessible transport system, Glasgow has wholly rendered the use of personal vehicles ineffective. Instead, the inhabitants find it more sustainable to travel using public transport. Additionally, the city places strict checks on industrial activity to ensure it doesn’t go too overboard.
- Oulu. Instead of investing time and energy in developing power plants that deteriorate the air quality, they’ve done something else. Oulu has adopted renewable energy sources to create sustainable energy. It pays special attention to conserving its most valuable resource, life.
- Brisbane. It becomes increasingly challenging for a city with over 2 million people to govern all aspects of industrial and vehicular activity. But Brisbane has set an example by strictly following the regulations. As a result, there are a controlled number of vehicles on the road. Industries that are not operating beyond a certain level. With the city’s pleasant warm weather, Brisbane is paradise on earth.
- Gothenburg. The city’s ideal location has always been an economically important place. Over the years, more car manufacturing plants have developed in the town. The guidelines regarding the emissions have been strict and straightforward. Placing strong controls over industrial activity has allowed people to breathe in the air not contaminated with toxic pollutants.
- Surrey. An industrial city with a slightly cold climate is a recipe for failure. Surrey’s active efforts to ensure that pollutants don’t linger in the atmosphere have paid off. It has effectively managed to regulate industrial activity and vehicular emissions. As a result, the inhabitants get to live lives breathing fresh air.
- Sydney. Sydney is a well-known metropolitan city from the opera house to the harbor bridge. With a city as crowded as this, you’d expect the air quality to be much lower. However, effective regulations have allowed the government to keep all metrics under control. Even with buzzing city life, Sydney offers clear skies and fresh air.
- Newcastle. Blue waters and blue skies symbolize Newcastle. With a residential infrastructure, it’s the preferred place to raise a family and build a home. The policymakers have made sure to keep the city clean from pollutants and dust to market it as a safe living space.
Los Angeles has the most polluted air in the country, with high AQI and ozone levels.
Lahore, Pakistan, currently has the worst air quality, with an AQI of over 200.
1. Lahore, Pakistan
2. Wuhan, China
3. Belgrade, Serbia
4. Shanghai, China
5. Wroclaw, Poland
6. Chengdu, China
7. Hangzhou, China
8. Chongqing, China
9. Delhi, India
10. Kabul, Afghanistan
1. Los Angeles
1. Lahore, Pakistan
2. Ghaziabad, India
3. Delhi, India
4. Aguascalientes, Mexico
5. New Delhi, India
6. Lucknow, India
7. Muzaffarnagar, India
8. Dhaka, Bangladesh
9. Peshawar, Pakistan
10. Hapur, India
How to measure air quality
- Identify sources of particulate matter concentrations, such as chimneys or fireplaces.
- Purchase an air quality monitor that measures PM concentration.
- Place the sensor at the desired spot and take the readings using a PM sensor.
- Connect the sensor to your phone and compare results with set standards.