In this article, we will take a look at The most polluted cities in the world. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see a file 5 most polluted cities in the world.
Pollution is one of the biggest problems facing most countries in the world today. In fact, it is the largest environmental cause of premature death and disease, causing more than 11 million deaths and is several times greater than major diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS combined. While pollution has been a problem since industrialization, it has been exacerbated in recent decades by the use of pesticides and crop residues in agriculture, forest fires, urbanization, desert dust, and inadequate waste management. Pollution not only causes disease, but stunts growth, creates disastrous living conditions and also leads to the destruction of ecosystems.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a timely reminder of the relationship between pollution and human activity, as the global shutdown has led to an economic shutdown, which in turn has dramatically reduced pollution as well. Pictures of cities have been widely shared showing the impact of reducing pollution during lockdowns. However, it was only a temporary respite, and once the lockdowns are over, and economic and industrial activities resume, so will the level of pollution.
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Air pollution is one of the worst forms of pollution and is the main environmental risk to health. According to a report by the World Bank, air pollution costs $8.1 trillion in 2019, which is about 6.1% of global GDP. Moreover, 95% of all deaths from air pollution occur in low- and middle-income countries. The reason behind this is that such countries have a lot of lax regulations which companies exploit. This can attract companies that do not want to operate in more developed countries due to stricter regulations, and also due to a lack of oversight by governments.
It is important to note that it is mostly companies that cause this pollution, and despite the pressure on individuals to reduce carbon emissions and reduce pollution, this is just a blame-shifting tactic by big companies that earn billions of dollars annually and contribute significantly to pollution globally. In fact, according to the Institute for Political Economy Research, which released the Greenhouse 100 pollutant index for 2021 based on 2019 data, it mentioned the largest polluters in the United States. Lots of energy companies were near the top of the list, including Vista Energy and Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:donkeys), Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A), the Southern Company (NYSE):So) and the American Electric Power Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEP). In fact, only 10 companies contribute nearly a tenth of total greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in the United States in 2019, which shows how significant the impact of companies on pollution is. To further illustrate this point, according to a Guardian report in 2017, only 100 companies were responsible for 71% of all global emissions. While it might be better for the average person not to use single-use plastics and straws and ride a train instead of a plane, it wouldn’t have as much of an impact as holding companies responsible for the damage they cause.
Most companies have realized that investors are not only looking for quick returns, but they want to see how the company is also improving the environment, as well as social action. This is why many companies are already overstating how much they are doing to reduce their carbon emissions. According to the BBC, many large companies routinely exaggerate or misreport their progress,” including giants like Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:The Google), NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
On the other hand, there is now a thriving industry working to reduce pollution. Some of the companies focusing on ocean cleanup include The Ocean Cleanup, with which Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) had teamed up to clean a river in Vietnam. Other companies involved in this include Clearwater Mills and AlphaMERs.
To rank the 25 most polluted cities, we relied on data provided by the 2021 Global Air Quality Report by IQAir. As mentioned earlier, air pollution is the most harmful form of pollution, so it is fair to use the Air Quality Index as a metric. While China has had many cities among the most polluted in the world, it has made great strides through strict regulations imposed on businesses. Unfortunately, India seems to have caught the slack, as 18 out of 25 cities are from India. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the most polluted cities in the world, starting with number 25:
25. Meerut, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 80.6
Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Meerut is home to more than 1.5 million people and is considered one of the largest producers of sporting instruments and musical instruments in the country.
24. Bulandshahr, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 80.8
The PM2.5 concentration in Poland, at this moment, is six times greater than the World Health Organization’s annual air quality guideline value. City residents were advised to keep windows closed to avoid dust and sensitive groups should avoid outdoor exercise.
23- Sahiwal, Pakistan
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 81.7
After India, Pakistan has the largest number of cities among the most polluted in the world, and we start with Sahiwal, located in the province of Punjab. Approximately 400,000 people live in the city.
22. Varanasi, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 82.6
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and has experienced really high pollution due to the high population density, and the lack of control. The city is located on the Ganges and the pollution of the Ganges has raised concerns across the country and beyond, especially because of the river’s religious significance and people’s dependence on it as a water source.
21. Muzaffarpur, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 82.9
Located in Bihar, major sources of pollution in Muzaffarpur include vehicle emissions, road dust, open burning of waste, construction activities, industrial emissions and domestic fuel burning.
20. Kanpur, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 83.2
Kanpur is the home of the coal industry, and the coal that the industry burns is a major source of pollution, as are car emissions on unpaved roads, not to mention pollution from tanneries.
19. Kashgar, China
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 83.2
China also enters the list of the most polluted cities in the world, along with Kashgar, with a population of about 920 thousand.
18. Gurugram, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 83.4
Located in Haryana, Gurugram fights social and economic issues, which include high pollution and income inequality.
17. Jind, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 84.1
The oldest city in Jind district, the city is home to about 170,000 people and the high use of traditional vehicles is one of the major sources of pollution.
16. Lucknow, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 86
Lucknow, the capital and largest city of Uttar Pradesh, has a population of over 3.5 million. Due to the high level of pollution from vehicles, the city has introduced CNG (compressed natural gas) as a fuel source for vehicles to control air pollution.
15. Lahore, Pakistan
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 86.5
Lahore is the capital of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province, and the city’s high pollution levels are said to reduce the average life expectancy of the average person in the city by 6.8 years.
14. Rohtak, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 86.9
Rotak is located in the province of Haryana in India, with a population of about 400,000 people.
13. Greater Noida, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 87.5
A planned city, Greater Noida is home to illegal mining, which is one of the reasons why the city is so polluted.
12. Faridabad, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 88.9
The most populous city of Haryana is also one of the most polluted cities in the world, although it has improved, being registered as the second most polluted city in the world in 2018 by the World Health Organization.
11. Hisar, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 89
Haryana has quite a few entries in this list and Hisar is definitely one of the most polluted cities in the state, with crop burning or straw burning by farmers being one of the driving factors behind the high levels of pollution found in the city. Furthermore, the city has experienced high levels of growth in recent years, which has exacerbated the problem. The city also has very old vehicles that run on lower quality fuel.
10. Bagpat, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 89.1
With a PM2.5 concentration of 89.1, Bagpat is only one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.
9. Peshawar, Pakistan
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 89.6
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state, and experiences much higher pollution in the colder months due to burning materials for heating, as well as cold air pollution. Another reason behind the dangerous pollution levels is the number of vehicles in the city, including motorbikes and rickshaws, that use low-quality fuel and play a major role in pollution. Add to that the constant supply of trucks and heavy vehicles through the city carrying goods and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 91
Bahawalpur is the most polluted city in Pakistan, and number 8 among the most polluted cities in the world. Emissions from vehicles and industrial processes are the main causes of pollution, with thousands of smoke-emitting vehicles not truly roadworthy being driven daily on dilapidated roads. Biogas is also used in kitchens, the construction industry, and power generation, not to mention garbage incineration. While Pakistan often blames India for cross-border pollution, the country certainly needs to take steps to ensure pollution is controlled and reduced.
7. Noida, India
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 91.4
Sometime in 2019, Noida was the most polluted city in India, but it has improved quite a bit in the last couple of years.
6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
Average annual concentration of PM2.5 (μg/m3): 94.2
The pollution of Faisalabad, like most cities of Pakistan, is caused by the low quality of the vehicles traveling on the roads, not to mention that it is considered the home of textiles in Pakistan and therefore it hosts many factories and textile mills, along with thousands of brick kilns, all of which contribute to the pollution of the city. .
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Disclosure: none. The 25 most polluted cities in the world Originally published on Insider Monkey.