Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that causes adverse change. The major kinds of pollution are air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution. Air pollution is any substance that people introduce into the atmosphere that has damaging effects on living things and the environment. Water pollution is the presence of toxic chemicals and biological agents in groundwater that exceeds what is naturally found in the water and may pose a threat to human health and/or the environment. Land pollution means degradation or destruction of earth’s surface and soil, directly or indirectly as a result of human activities.
Pollution is considered inevitable because nowadays, every industry, small or big has its footprint in overall pollution. Even the non-manufacturing industries have an indirect contribution towards pollution. The best indicator that is used for assessing health impacts that result from air pollution is PM2.5 and measuring the concentration of air pollution is in micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) of air. PM2.5 stands for particulates, suspended solid or liquid particles in the atmosphere which are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. It refers to fine particles produced by combustion, power plants, forest fires, including motor vehicles, and some other industrial processes. A PM2.5 value of 35 or more is considered hazardous for health. The ranking of the most polluted countries in the world is based on the number of cities a country has which has a PM2.5 value greater than 35.
Here are the top 5 most polluted countries in the world:
Pakistan is among the most populated countries in the world with a total population of 196.17 million people. It has an average PM2.5 pollution of 115.7ug/m3 and has 4 cities with a PM2.5 reading greater than or equal to 35, making it the most polluted country in the world. Reports stated that the increase in industrialization, urbanization, and motorization in Pakistan will inevitably worsen the pollution problem. Statistics show that dirty outdoor air in Pakistan is responsible for over 80,000 hospital admissions a year with cases ranging from low respiratory problems to chronic bronchitis.
Qatar is widely known as the richest country in the world. Despite being rich, Qatar has not been effective in cutting off the country’s pollution rate. Qatar ranks as the 2nd most polluted country in the world with the average PM2.5 pollution of 92.4 ug/m3. The main reasons that are responsible for increasing the bad quality of air in Qatar are construction and air traffic that is usually busy.
Afghanistan is the 3rd most polluted country in the world with an average PM2.5 pollution of 86ug/m3. The most polluted city in Afghanistan is the capital city of the country, Kabul. The number of people who die every year in Kabul out of air pollution is estimated by the Afghanistan government to be 3000 deaths. The reason behind the increasing level of pollution in Afghanistan is the continued use of diesel generators and burning plastic bags and tires for fuel.
The average PM2.5 pollution in Bangladesh is 83.3 ug/m3 which makes the country the 4th most polluted country in the world. The biggest factor affecting the increasing level of pollution in the country is its big population which is estimated to be about 156.59 million people. For an underdeveloped small country like Bangladesh, having 8 cities with a PM2.5 reading greater than or equal to 35 is a big concern. There are 3 cities in Bangladesh that are ranked among the top 25 cities that have the worst air quality. The 3 most polluted city in Bangladesh are Narayonganj, Gazipur, and Dhaka.
Egypt comes as the 5th most polluted country in the world with the average PM2.5 pollution of 73 ug/m3. The country is not only among the most polluted countries, it is also among the most populated countries in the world as its population is estimated to be approximately 87.4 million people. The pollution in Egypt is caused by the emissions from factories and vehicles and burning coal and wood for heating. The most polluted city in Egypt is its capital city, Cairo.
Polluted countries are not necessarily poor as there are rich countries that also suffer from having a high level of pollution. Countries are working to reduce levels of sulfur dioxide, smog, and smoke in order to decrease the level of pollution and improve people’s health. The governments are also taking measures to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases with the hope of solving the pollution problem of the world.