The 5 most polluted capitals on the planet are not in Europe, according to an air quality report.
- Only 5% of countries comply with WHO recommendations on air pollution by fine particles.
- The most polluted city is N’Djamena in Chad. In Europe, we find Athens in first position. As for Paris, it climbs to ninth place.
- Air pollution is the cause of 93 billion sick days and more than six million deaths a year.
In 2022, only six countries met World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for air pollution, according to an IQAir report. These were Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland and New Zealand. “13 out of 131 countries and regions have managed to achieve PM2.5 concentrations at or below the WHO guideline for annual PM2.5 concentrations of 5 μg/m3. Citizens of only ten percent of countries, regions and territories of the world breathe air that does not pose a risk to their health”says the Swiss air quality technology company.
Atmospheric pollution: Paris is in 9th position
To produce this report, IQAir analyzed data from more than 30,000 air quality monitoring stations at 7,323 sites in 131 countries, territories and regions. She made a ranking of the most polluted cities in the world. In first position, we find N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, where the average concentration of fine particles was 89.7 µg/m3, “more than 17 times higher than the annual WHO recommendation for PM2.5”. It is closely followed by Baghdad (70.9 µg/m3), the capital of Iraq, and Lahore in Pakistan.
In Europe, the most polluted city is Athens. Then, we find Sofia in Bulgaria and Bucharest in Romania. Paris is in 9th place in the ranking with an average concentration of 12.7 micrograms of fine particles. It exceeds the limits set by the WHO by two to three times. According to the data, the countries where people breathe the best are Iceland, Estonia and Finland. “Too many people in the world do not know that they breathe polluted air. (…) Everyone deserves to have their health protected from air pollution”said Aidan Farrow, air quality scientist at Greenpeace International.
More than 6 million deaths a year are caused by poor air quality
In the report, the IQAir recalls that air pollution is responsible for 93 billion sick days and more than six million deaths each year. “Exposure to air pollution causes and aggravates several health problems, including asthma, cancer, lung disease, heart disease and premature mortality. Air pollution most severely affects already vulnerable populations More than 90% of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries Children under the age of 18, pregnant women and the elderly are all at increased risk of developing or worsening health problems. health due to exposure to air pollution”, concluded the company.