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12 Countries with the Dirtiest Air in the World

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Air pollution is increasing problem all around the world, but you should definitely avoid these top 12 countries with the dirtiest air in the world since they truly have the worst problems when it comes to air pollution.

On the other hand, these 10 countries with the cleanest air in the world are definitely worth visiting if you wish to breathe some fresh, high-quality air. Parameters of choosing cleanest or dirtiest countries in the world vary, and you will be surprised that for example, Sweden found its place on our list of 10 Dirtiest Countries in Europe: France and Sweden Are Dirtier than Most Places. It is actually funny since Sweden, along with many other Scandinavian countries tops the list of 16 Cleanest Countries in the World. These countries are also least polluted countries. The reason for this is the successful implementation of eco-friendly solutions such as improving public transportation, recycling and using eco-friendly fuels. When it comes to determining the most polluted countries in the world, one has to take into consideration that various websites and online magazines use different data which is sometimes outdated. According to The Telegraph, the most air-polluted country in the world in 2016 was Pakistan with average PM2.5 of 115.7. It is expected that countries that find themselves on the list of most polluted countries in the world are at the same time among top polluting countries in the world. The Telegraph also published an article on CO2 emissions per country, and according to this data, top polluting countries in 2017 are Qatar (35.73 tonnes), Curacao (30.43 tonnes) and Latvia (29.44). The United States also found its place in the top 10 polluting countries in 2017. According to data published by Statista, top polluting countries in 2016 are China and United States of America.

12 Countries with the Dirtiest Air in the World

Kekyalyaynen /

There are two types of pollution: indoor and outdoor pollution. Outdoor air pollution is caused by harmful gases produced by factories, power plants and of course, vehicles. Heavy metals and other pollutants area easily spread by a wind which means that no country is safe as long as global changes do not happen. This explains why dirties air is concentrated in specific areas/countries and most of top 10 countries with worst air pollution in the world are developing countries which are close to each other. Industrial growth and urbanization aggravate the problem even more, especially in countries which are not economically stable and have no means to implement eco-friendly solutions and reduce air pollution.

 While we are well-familiar with outdoor pollutants and air pollution in general, very few people know about the existence of so-called “household” or indoor pollution. Many people use solid fuels such as wood, coal, and charcoal for heating and cooking. Inefficient heating and cooking practices produce high levels of indoor pollution, especially pollutants such as fine particles and carbon monoxide. Exposure is higher among women and children who spend more time indoors. According to World Health Organization, 4.3 million people die from exposure to household pollution. Based on mortality rates, some of the newest data show that the most air-polluted country in the world is North Korea and our list will tell which country is the most air-polluted country in the world based on the amount of PM2.5 particles.

Since data for air quality around the world constantly changes (and varies from source to source), we decided to check a couple of sources before compiling this list of 12 countries with the dirtiest air in the world. The starting point was The Telegraph’s map based on WHO 2014 data. Then we checked out The Guardian’s article on global air pollution and some sites such as Numbeo and Statistic Brain which ranked countries around the world according to air pollution. However, we’ve decided to rank countries on our list according to data provided by WHO since it is the most comprehensive and accurate data. Countries are ranked according to annual mean concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in urban areas. Countries that have a higher concentration of PM2.5 are ranked higher on the list. Let’s take a look:

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