Ranking of the least polluted countries in Europe in 2022

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Although Europe has recorded a certain reduction of pollutants in the atmosphere in recent years, the level of pollution affecting the entire territory is always quite high.
In the big cities, where the population is higher, air quality is definitely at risk: presence of carbon dioxide, CO2, fine dust, nitrogen and particulate matter, is a risk factor for the health of all human beings, as well as an element of alteration of the global ecosystem.

In the last decades many European countries have opted for ecological choices and regulations aimed at reducing emissions harmful to humans and the environment, but the results can be seen over time.
Here then the ranking of the countries that are least polluted in Europe in 2022.

NB: The following ranking is based on the data collected by the well-known international site Numbeo, regarding the level of pollution (Pollution Index). This index mainly takes into consideration the air and water pollution indices, to a lesser extent other pollution indices (sanitation, noise pollution, public parks, ...). Relevant data from the World Health Organization are included.

Country Pollution index
Luxembourg 24.28
Slovenia 24.06
Switzerland 22.39
Austria 22.19
Denmark 21.33
Norway 21.25
Estonia 19.81
Sweden 18.09
Iceland 16.21
Finland 11.55

10 - Luxembourg, 24.28

The pollution level of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is among the lowest in Europe, moreover starting from 01/03/20 the Government has also made free use of all public transport to improve air quality; the country is heavily trafficked by several cars, this is because there are many commuter workers who move every day to the Luxembourg territory from neighboring states, namely Germany, Belgium and France.
The capital boasts high levels of cleanliness of the city, also the quality of the green areas and dell 'drinking water reaches very high standards.

9 - Slovenia, 24.06

It is the country where, although criteria such as income and wealth are not high, there is a level of pollution not too worrying.
In particular it is famous for the drinking water quality, which is one of the prominent positive elements of the territory. High levels of cleanliness, then, characterize the green areas and parks of the cities.
In particular in the capital, Ljubljana, the levels of air pollution and noise pollution are quite low, while excellent standards are achieved on the order and cleanliness of the territory.

8 - Switzerland, 22.39

There is a fairly low level of air pollution, but this improvement is a rather recent phenomenon, which began in the mid-80s. In particular, during the winter there is an increase in the rate of fine particles, caused by increasing traffic, while in the summer, the intensity of the sun's rays and the low intensity of the wind cause an increase in ozone.
High levels, on the other hand, are definitely achieved by the quality of drinking water and by the care e cleaning of green areas.

7 - Austria, 22.19

L'noise and air pollution is considered to be relatively low, while there are high levels of quality and accessibility of drinking water.
In recent years, Austria has moved a lot in favor of the environment, above all by investing money and concrete commitment inuse of renewable energies.
In addition, several have been introduced since 2012 prohibitions of circulation in 6 different Austrian environmental areas and since 2015, all vehicles with certain characteristics must necessarily have an environmental badge in order to be able to circulate. In case of violation, there are fines of up to € 2.000.

6 - Denmark, 21.33

In recent years it has occupied excellent positions in the rankings of countries that contribute to climate change, with its own increasingly innovative environmental policies and capillaries.
One of the main tools used in this fight against pollution is use renewable energy, in this case, this country is able to almost completely satisfy the electricity needs of the population through the turbines of the many wind farms present in the area.
Another economic investment to reduce air pollution was reserved for cycle paths, which cover the capital Copenhagen, whose air pollution index recorded is 17.93.

5 - Norway, 21.25

The excellent position in the ranking is due to a commitment to the environment undertaken by the Norwegian governments for a decade now.
It records a low enough level of air pollution because fight against CO2 emissions (Carbon dioxide) through prerogatives such as the electrification of means of transport and the increase of cycle paths.
Very tall they are too the levels of quality and accessibility to drinking water, even in the capital Oslo, which in recent times has been investing heavily in the possibility of minimizing the use of plastic within its area.

4 - Estonia, 19.81

The low level of environmental pollution is mainly due to the fact that it is a small country whose 45% of the area is covered by forests.
In fact, there are numerous parks and nature reserves declared protected areas, whose quality and care reach high levels. In addition, a great deal of commitment is reserved for the protection of waters of the Baltic Sea and the rivers that flow into it.

3 - Sweden, 18.09

It is on the podium in the ranking of the least polluted countries in Europe, this is because it has been adopting for about twenty years initiatives to reduce the level of pollution environment within its territory.
He introduced gradually the pollution tax, which has contributed over time to push businesses and citizens to reduce CO2 emissions, encouraging renewable energy models and promoting healthier and green friendly lifestyles.
In Stockholm, the levels of quality and accessibility of drinking water stand out (92.42) as well as the quality of the parks and green areas present in the area (85.83).

2 - Iceland, 16.21

Second place for this country, which thanks to its geographical position can enjoy sources of natural energy, is the case of geothermal energy, due to the intense natural activity coming from the subsoil.
The most notable data concerns another abundant natural element that characterizes the territory: thewater, whose level of quality and accessibility to drinking water reaches very high levels, as many as 93.13. In particular, in the capital, Reykjavík, the drinking water pollution index is only 1.79.

1 - Finland, 11.55

Occupies the first place in the ranking of the least polluted countries in Europe, reaching only the value of 7.64 as an index of air pollution.
From all points of view, boasts very high levels: quality and accessibility of drinking water, waste management, quality and care of green areas, reduction of noise pollution and cleaning of cities.
The capital Helsinki is one of the most sustainable cities in the world, in particular, to combat the problem of CO2 emissions, the city is increasingly focusing on electric public transport and the use of renewable energies, such as the increase of photovoltaic panels.
In recent times Finland, considering the excellent results obtained in its territory, has set itself the goal of aiming for zero CO2 emissions by 2035.

Classification criteria

The ranking is based on 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. Perception of the population on cleanliness and order
  6. Sound and light pollution at night
  7. Presence of public green
  8. Degree of discomfort in living in the city due to pollution

The Pollution Index, however, attributes greater weight to 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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