Eco-Living Magazine

Air Pollution Around The World

Posted on the 17 May 2013 by Ecothoughts
A couple of days ago I ended up looking up what some of the world’s most polluted countries were. Interestingly enough, the World Health Organization had compiled a list of 91 countries, and ranked them based on air quality “represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter”. Measurements are based per m3. I did notice however, that the information in this database ranges from data collected in 2003 – 2010, and also some areas have different measurement methods. In other instances, data may have been omitted due to inaccessibility because of language or limited access. Regardless of this, the information provided still gives a good basis to start from when looking at pollution concentrations in countries around the world. Just to give a summary, here are the countries considered to have the worst air pollution according the WHO:
1. Mongolia – 279 ug/m3
2. Bostwana – 216 ug/m3
3. Pakistan – 198 ug/m3
4. Senegal – 145 ug/m3
5. Saudi Arabia – 143 ug/m3
6. Eygpt – 138 ug/m3
7. United Arab Emirates – 132 ug/m3
8. Iran – 124 ug/m3
9. Nigeria – 124 ug/m3
10. Kuwait – 123 ug/m3
Also, here are the countries considered to have low air pollution according to the WHO:
1. Estonia – 11ppm
2. Mauritius – 12ppm
3. Australia – 13ppm
4. New Zealand – 15ppm
5. Ireland – 15ppm
6. Luxembourg – 18ppm
7. Bhutan – 18ppm
8. Monaco – 18ppm
9. USA – 18ppm
10. Finland – 19ppm
To put things into perspective, the WHO states that “for 2008, the number of premature deaths attributable to urban outdoor air pollution is estimated to amount to 1.34 million worldwide. Of these, 1.09 million deaths could be avoided if the mean annual Air Quality Guideline values of PM10=20μg/m3 and PM2.5=10 μg/m3 were implemented”. These readings per country that I provided are based off of the PM10 values.
Since this provides a sort of outline when trying to understand pollution levels around the world, and since I also want to connect international views and issues to this blog, I’m planning on making an International section to house information on each of these countries. I guess you could look at it as a sort of “country profile” where I would look into the main environmental issues facing the country, some of the factors that could be contributing to this (such as the prominent industries of the country), the effects on the country, and also any steps the nation is taking to correct the issues. These profiles would include intensely polluted as well as cleaner countries, and would not just be limited to air pollution.
So basically, stay tuned for country pollution profiles. Let me know if you have any good sites, news stories, discoveries, etc… that pertain to a particular country (it can be one that doesn’t appear in the list above). I’ll compile the info and add it to my post. Also feel free to comment/discuss.
I’ll leave you with a cool visual! Also from the WHO, here is a map of the information discussed above:
Air Pollution Around The WorldAll information, reports, tables, and data mentioned above can be found here, on the WHO's web site.

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