Air pollution can pose a serious health risk. Respiratory conditions, cancer, heart disease and other ailments are linked to air pollution. The World Health Organization estimates 1.34 million people died in 2008 from breathing in the tiny particles present in polluted outdoor air. In some parts of the world, air pollution is not only many times that of the recommended amount, but is getting worse. In some cities, air pollution is the worst it has ever been. 24/7 Wall St. looked at new data from the WHO to find the most polluted cities in the world.
According to the WHO, cities in Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan are among those with the highest levels of air pollution in the world. The sources of air pollution in those cities are fairly consistent. Industrial factories and power plants frequently emit large amounts of particles into the air. Similarly, the growing use of automobiles in many of the cities also adds to pollution. And with the vehicles used often being cheap, second-hand and poorly maintained, they emit greater amounts of toxic emissions than those in the U.S. or Canada, further worsening the air quality. High levels of pollution also result from combustion of wood and municipal waste, and, in some cases, airborne dust is caused by a combination of unpaved roads and dry weather.
There are serious health consequences to air pollution. PM10 particles, or particles of 10 micrometers or less, enter the air and are breathed in by people. These particles eventually enter the bloodstream, where they can cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and acute lower respiratory infections. The WHO estimates 1.34 million people died in 2008 from breathing in tiny particles present in polluted outdoor air. This is up from 1.15 million deaths in 2004.
24/7 Wall St. has analyzed the ten international cities with the worst air pollution, according to the WHO data. In each case, the city has at least ten times the amount of air particles recommended by the WHO — 20 µg/m3. In most cases the air quality is even worse.
This is 24/7 Wall St.’s Cities With The Worst Air Pollution In The World.