Top 10 Most Polluted Cities in the World

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According to the World Health Organization(WHO), air pollution from coal, oil and gas burning sources kills nearly 9 million people worldwide every year. The same data shows that 99% of the world population currently live in places with air quality that exceeds WHO guideline limits, breathing in high levels of pollutants. These deaths occur as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections. We know that air pollution is most prevalent in middle- to low-income countries as a result of poor pollution standards and industrial work and development, but which cities are the most polluted in the world?

1. Delhi


According to the Global Pollution Index, the national capital of India, Delhi, has the highest air pollution level in the world. The report found that the fine PM2.5 level in Delhi is among the highest in the world. A study in Delhi reported an average annual exposure of 110 micrograms per cubic meter. Micrograms per cubic meter is equivalent to micrograms per cubic meter.

2. Kolkata


Kolkata is the second most polluted city in the world in terms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The city reports an average annual exposure of 84 g/m3.

3. Kano


Kano city in Nigeria ranked third with an average annual exposure of 83.6 g/m3.

4. Lima


Lima, the capital of Peru, ranked fourth with an average annual exposure of 73.2 g/m3.

5. Dhaka


Dhaka, the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, reported an average annual exposure of 71.4 g/m3 and ranked fifth on the list.

6. Jakarta


The island of Java, Indonesia, which has the world’s largest population, ranks sixth in smog exposure with an average annual exposure of 67.3 μg/m3.

7. Lagos


Lagos was number seven on the list with an average annual exposure of 66.9 μg/m3.

8. Karachi


Ranked at eighth place, Karachi, Pakistan averaged an annual exposure of 63.6 μg/m3.

9. Beijing


Beijing, China’s capital, ranked ninth on the list with an average annual exposure of 55.0 g/m3.

10. Accra


In tenth place on the list of most polluted cities in the world is Accra, Ghana. On average, annual exposure there is 51.9 μg/m3.


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