Ranking of the largest countries polluted in the world in 2021

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Pollution is a phenomenon that affects the whole world. At the root of this serious problem, which jeopardizes the health of living beings all over the planet, there are several factors.
Among pollutants more common in urban areas we find particulate matter, that set of toxic particles that remain in the air and that cause serious damage to vegetation (ozone in particular) and permanent or temporary damage to humans (in particular to the respiratory system).

Industrial activities, use of non-environmentally friendly domestic systems, excessive urbanization at the expense of green areas, intense use of vehicles, the presence of open landfills, are among the many factors responsible for global pollution, but some countries are more affected from this phenomenon.
So let's see the ranking of the 10 most polluted countries in the world according to the pollution index calculated by Numbeo.

10 - Egypt, 85.65

E' one of the most populated countries in Africa and the Middle East: has about 96 million inhabitants. In addition to being among the most populous in the world, Egypt is also among the most polluted places on the planet, just think that the air pollution index in the country is 75.44 and in the capital Cairo the figure increases to 84.86.

The reasons behind the phenomenon are high presence of industries which produce particulates, along with vehicles and the poor ventilation that characterizes the arid climate of the various regions. Also it waste disposal is performed inadequately and the effects of this situation affect both people's health and historical monuments, on which pollutants accumulate (and which therefore risk permanent damage).

9 - Bangladesh, 86.21

Here the high rate of pollution is not only due to industrial activities and all 'heavy traffic, but also to related factors to agriculture, in fact, in the country it is customary to cause the combustion of crop residues that precede the fertilization processes of the fields, moreover, in the fields there is extensive use of pesticides. These products jeopardize the quality of the water, already plagued by pollution from arsenic, an element naturally present in the country's soil. TO Dhaka, where 10 million inhabitants live, theair pollution index is very high, 85.92.

8 - Monaco, 86.33

The Principality of Monaco is the most polluted country in Europe, and one of the reasons behind this phenomenon is one climate issue, or in the country there is never a strong presence of wind such as to avoid the accumulation of pollutants in the air, or the continuous increase of these substances, deriving from numerous vehicles, from industry and the use of fuel oil for i heating systems.

7 - Vietnam, 86.47

In this country, the numerous industries, which have only recently been dotting the territory, are putting the country's natural resources at risk every day, such as water and soil. However, other polluting factors are to be sought in the past: the effects of chemicals and herbicides used by the Americans during the conflict up to the 70s, they still have considerable repercussions on the environment today. Furthermore, Vietnam has serious problems waste disposal, just think that it is among the Asian countries to pour more plastic into the sea. In the capital Hanoi air quality is seriously compromised, the pollution index is 85.45.

6 - Nigeria, 87.63

It is one of the most polluted countries in the world and the data speak for themselves: the water pollution index is at the maximum: 100.00. The Niger river flowing in its territory, in fact, is stormed by the oil fields, among the most important in the world. However, oil extraction activities are not entirely harmless and causative very invasive damage to the environment, to water, soil and air, seriously compromising human health.

5 - Lebanon, 88.37

This country is experiencing a real one environmental emergency mainly linked to waste disposal, in fact the pollution index linked to these activities is 83.79. Hundreds of illegal landfills open air are found throughout the country and consequently the quality of water, soil and air is severely compromised. In the most populated cities, such as the capital Beirut, clouds full of pollutants make the air unbreathable and to complicate the situation we are witnessing more and more phenomena of deforestation and the settlement of illegal wells.

4 - Ghana, 89.20

Another African country plagued by the scourge of pollution, this time it is the Ghana, besieged by the increasingly cumbersome presence of electronic waste landfills (of internal and international origin). Unfortunately, waste disposal activities make the situation worse: often clouds of black smoke invade the sky, and to burn together with electronic material there are also tires: the result is a lethal mix of pollutants. Water and soil are severely compromised from the effects of these activities, conducted illegally, therefore without any kind of regulation.

3 - Mongolia, 92.45

Here, theair pollution index is very high: 90.73. In particular, in the capital Ulaan Bator the levels of particulate matter in the air have exceeded the threshold allowed by the WHO by more than one hundred times. More, the number of inhabitants, about 1,5 million, far exceeds what the city can accommodate (only half a million).

L'use of coal for heating, given that it is one of the coldest places in the world, it is certainly among the factors that cause and feed this phenomenon, which is putting the health of the inhabitants more and more at risk.

2 - Myanmar, 92.54

It is the second most polluted country in the world. In these areas the air quality is jeopardized by aexcessive urbanization: like so many Asian countries, the growth of cities does not go hand in hand with pollution prevention systems, such as an adequate use of renewable energy sources. With the intense urbanization, the most obvious consequence is theincrease in traffic and industries which contribute to increasingly invasive pollution of air, water and soil.

1 - Afghanistan, 93.45

In addition to being the scene of wars for decades, theAfaghanistan it is also the most polluted country in the world. In the capital Kabul the air pollution index is 86.11, this means that the air is almost unbreathable.

Obviously, war is one of the factors that fuel the phenomenon of pollution, given that the more rural areas of the country have been abandoned, while cities like Kabul, considered safer, have been overcrowded, with the consequent increase in traffic and waste. Green areas in Kabul are non-existent, while the air is continually threatened by the combustion of plastic, coal, wood and tires, used for heating homes and camps.

Classification criteria

The ranking is based on the data collected by Numbeo on the Pollution Index. The value is the result of the following pollution indices:

  1. Air quality
  2. Access to drinking water
  3. Water pollution
  4. Waste management
  5. Public perception of cleanliness and order
  6. Sound and light pollution at night
  7. Presence of public green
  8. Degree of discomfort in experiencing the city due to pollution

The Pollution Index, however, attributes greater weight to the items concerning air and water pollution and less to other indices such as noise pollution and the degree of discomfort of the population.

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