Infrastructure

The Least Polluted City in the World

Air pollution has worsened worldwide in most years during the last several decades. The WHO reports that polluted air kills seven million people a year. The majority of the cities with the worst air pollution problems are in China and India, where the places are crowded, and fossil fuels remain the primary source of energy. A new study looks at the least polluted cities. These are concentrated in central Europe and the Scandinavian countries. Munich, Germany, tops the list. The city has strict rules about what kinds of vehicles can be driven into the city.


Utility Bidder released a study titled “The Most Polluted Cities In The World.” Its rating was based on IQAir’s air quality index for 2021, LightPollutionMap, Traffic Index by City 2022 Mid-Year, and the Global Gridded Model of Carbon Footprints. The universe included 100 cities. Cities were rated on an index of 1 to 10, with one as the best possible pollution score.

Munich had a score of 2.8. The study’s authors wrote: “Munich, Germany, is the least polluted city on our list. The city has a very low level of light pollution (2860μcd/m2) as well as good air quality (10.3 out of 100). Since 2008, Munich has had a low emission zone, meaning that high emission vehicles are no longer permitted to be driven into the city. The regulation covers automobiles, buses, motor homes, and trucks. This could also contribute to the extremely low carbon footprint the city has (7.2t CO2 per person).”

Air pollution will only get worse. The WHO reports that nine out of ten people worldwide breathe air above its guidelines for air pollution. Most of these people live in low-income nations. The NRCD reports the problem gets worse in many areas every year.


Munich’s low air pollution may hold a clue to reduction. The city has decided to have heavy regulation to keep air pollution low.

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