25 Most Polluted Cities in the World

Print Email

Source: VCG / VCG via Getty Images

15. Langfang, China
> Population: 868,000
> Average PM2.5 pollution per cubic meter: 96 micrograms
> Average PM10 pollution per cubic meter: 144 micrograms

Smog shrouded streets of Beijing are what many likely imagine when thinking of air pollution in China. However, PM2.5 pollution is more concentrated in the city of Langfang, along the outskirts of Beijing. The average annual concentration of PM2.5 in Langfang is 96 micrograms per cubic meter of air, compared to 85 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing.

Though China has policies on the books to reduce pollution in the region’s steel and coal industries, they are not being enforced.

Source: GUFRAN KHAN / Wikimedia Commons

14. Ahmedabad, India
> Population: 7.6 million
> Average PM2.5 pollution per cubic meter: 100 micrograms
> Average PM10 pollution per cubic meter: 83 micrograms

Ahmedabad, India is one of only 14 cities in the world in which PM2.5 air pollution average concentration levels are 100 micrograms per cubic meter or higher. The city is located in Northwestern India in the state of Gujarat. As is the case in many of the world’s most polluted cities, vehicle and industrial emissions are largely to blame for the high concentrations of particulate in the city’s air. A major urban center, Ahmedabad is home to nearly 8 million people.

Source: Xiaolu Chu / Getty Images

13. Tangshan, China
> Population: 2.9 million
> Average PM2.5 pollution per cubic meter: 102 micrograms
> Average PM10 pollution per cubic meter: 153 micrograms

Tangshan, China is one of the most polluted cities in one of the most polluted countries in the world. Tangshan is the largest steel producer in the country, and steel production is one of the largest contributing factors to air pollution. In late 2017, the city was forced to enact emergency procedures, halting cement production and reducing steel production, in order to address a period of especially heavy air pollution. The average level of concentration of PM2.5 in Tangshan is 102 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Source: Simisa (talk · contribs) / Wikimedia Commons

12. Kampala, Uganda
> Population: 2.0 million
> Average PM2.5 pollution per cubic meter: 104 micrograms
> Average PM10 pollution per cubic meter: 170 micrograms

Air pollution in Kampala, Uganda is more highly concentrated than in nearly any other city in Africa. Traffic congestion is a considerable problem in the Ugandan capital, which likely contributes to the high concentrations of PM 2.5 pollution. Additionally, only about 25% of the city’s roads were paved as of 2014, and dust kicked up from unpaved roads are a significant source of larger particulate air pollution, which is also highly concentrated in the city’s air.

Source: MIKParadox / Wikimedia Commons

11. Narayanganj, Bangladesh
> Population: 543,000
> Average PM2.5 pollution per cubic meter: 106 micrograms
> Average PM10 pollution per cubic meter: 191 micrograms

The fourth Bangladeshi city on this list, and the most polluted in the country, Narayanganj is just south of Dhaka, the national capital and another of the most polluted cities in the world. The city is known for being home to numerous jute mills, which produce many different kinds of pollution.