What City Has The Worst Air Pollution?
Before diving into which city in the world has the worst air pollution, it is important to know what air pollution is at its root. In addition, it is good to take a look at how the city has the highest amount of air pollution and apply it in a larger context—taking a look at air quality of different countries and other cities across the world.
Air pollution is the major cause of Global Warming, an ongoing reality that the entire world is facing. Although it is true certain places are worse off than others, these places are still ultimately contributing to the overall anomaly that is Global Warming which is affecting you and the people you care about.
What is Air Pollution?
Air pollution is the release of pollutants into the air. It is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials into the atmosphere. These pollutants are detrimental to human beings and their health, as well as all organisms and the natural environment.
The burning of fossil fuels in factories, cars, and planes contribute heavily to the amount of damaging pollutants being put into the air. When ranking cities based on their air pollution, there’s a few different ways it can be done. There is ranking by ozone, by short-term particulate matter, and by year-round particulate matter.
One of the most commonly tracked pollutants is a particulate referred to as PM 2.5. This particulate’s name is based on the fact that it is 2.5 micrometers in size. PM is an acronym for particulate matter. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an index regulated by the Clean Air Act. The index ranges from 0 to 500 and it is used to measure air quality. The higher the Air Quality Index, the higher the level of air pollution, and the more harmful the pollutants in the air are for humans and the environment. The concentration of an air pollutant is given in micrograms per cubic meter air (μ㎥). There are five major pollutants that the Air Quality Index references, those pollutants are:
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Ground-level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Particulate matter
The World’s Most Polluted Countries
Below is a list of the top ten countries in the world with the worst air pollution based on their average Air Quality Index in 2019 and 2018. The air quality of these countries are ever-changing, however, their air qualities have been consistently unhealthy ranging from 39.60 μ㎥ to 83.30 μ㎥. The countries are:
The City with the Worst Air Pollution
The city with the worst air pollution in the whole world is Ghaziabad in India. Based on their air quality, they had consistent unhealthy air the entirety of 2019. Ghaziabad is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh and is part of the capital region of Delhi. Due to this city being a sort of gateway into the state of Uttar Pradesh, it can be expected that it is heavily trafficked by cars, trucks, buses, etc. This causes a high volume of pollutants being put in the air.
While Ghaziabad’s vehicles and industry play a major role in the city’s air pollution, a huge factor is the type of environment the city is in. There is a large amount of dust that accumulates in the city that is not able to circulate out. Due to the city’s unhealthy air quality, the residents of the city are at an extremely high risk of health issues and complications.
The city has particles in the air that are less than 2.5 micrometers in size, referred to as PM 2.5, which means they are easily inhaled. This easy inhalation of pollutants results in major complications with the health of the citizens.
Other Cities In the World with the Worst Air Pollution
Below is a list of the cities that rank 2-10 on the list of worst air quality in the world. Based on the world air quality report in 2019, these cities have all had an air quality concentration of 90-110 μ㎥. These are the cities:2. Hotan, China
3. Gujranwala, Pakistan
4. Faisalabad, Pakistan
5. Delhi, India
6. Noida, India
7. Gurugram, India
8. Raiwind, Pakistan
9. Greater Noida, India
10. Bandhwari, India
What Does Air Pollution Do to You?
Air pollution can have adverse effects on the human body, as well all living organisms and the environment itself. Long-term effects on the body include:
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Birth defects
These are all things that can be caused by inhalation of pollutants in the air. In addition, air pollution can worsen pre existing conditions and health problems such as asthma, heart disease, and lung disease.
Ecosystems can suffer due to air pollution. It can contaminate the water and soil of the earth, which can result in crops and animals that thrive on the water and soil in that air dying or reducing in population. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide can produce acid rain. Acid rain can cause damage to animals, plants, buildings, and the human body.
What Can Be Done?
Here is a list of ways you can help to reduce your contribution to air pollution:
- Ride a bike or walk instead of driving.
- Take a bus or carpool when driving is necessary.
- Turn off lights and appliances when they are not being used.
- Buy fewer things that are manufactured using fossil fuels.
- Invest in a car that has greater fuel efficiency.
- Conserve electricity.
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