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No matter how rich or poor, almost every country in the world grapples with pollution. How is the air quality where you live?

Across the globe, people are suffocating in bouts of dense smog and extremely high levels of air pollution.


Just about every country in the world grapples with pollution, no matter how rich or poor they are. But you may not be aware of just how toxic your country is.


Toxic countries are mostly a manmade problem. The single largest source of air pollutants is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline. Fossil fuels are used for heating, to operate transportation vehicles, in generating electricity, and in manufacturing and other industrial processes. Burning these fuels causes smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Kingdom is placed 159th on the list with a particulate matter level of 12. The USA has been given the 173rd spot, with an impressively low particulate matter level of 8.


The interactive map also shows that countries such as China – which are infamous for the lack of clean air within their cities – have polluted air levels that are half the amount of Saudi Arabia. China scored a level of 54 compared to the Saudi Arabia's shocking particulate matter score of 108. Saudi Arabia is the top offender in the most polluted city stakes.


The likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer and stroke are heightened in areas with high pollution, and studies prove that child mortality rates are higher in countries with greater air pollution.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is now a greater threat to health than ebola or HIV – and 80 per cent of all urban areas have air pollution levels above what is considered healthy.


However, it is not all doom and gloom. Some of the cleanest air in the world belongs to New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Brunei Darussalam, which all boast an impressive level of particulate matter at 5. The Scandinavian countries of Sweden and Finland also have low particulate matter levels.

The data measures the toxicity of countries based on rates of particulate matter in the air we breathe.


The interactive map below shows the median rate of particulate matter across 184 countries.


Middle-Eastern oil-rich countries dominate the top 10 spaces on the most polluted list:


Saudi Arabia, particulate matter level of 108.

Qatar, particulate matter level of 103.

Egypt, particulate matter level of 93.

Bangladesh, particulate matter level of 84.

Kuwait, particulate matter level of 75.

Cameroon, particulate matter level of 65.

Mauritania particulate matter level of 65.

Nepal, particulate matter level of 64.

United Arab Emirates, particulate matter level of 64.

India, particulate matter level of 62.


The top 20 also includes:


Libya, particulate matter level of 61.

Bahrain, particulate matter level of 60.

Pakistan, particulate matter level of 60.

Niger, particulate matter level of 59.

Uganda, particulate matter level of 57.

China, particulate matter level of 54.

Myanmar, particulate matter level of 51.

Iraq, particulate matter level of 50.

Bhutan, particulate matter level of 48.

Oman, particulate matter level of 48.

Trees against blue sky, Sweden

How clean is your air?

Mill stone, Peak District, UK

Above: the UK rates 159th on the list, with relatively clean air

Red and white house by a lake, Sweden

Above: Sweden has some of the cleanest air in the world

Chris Rowson is founder of eCO2 Greetings which provides the highest quality ecards with unrivalled eco benefits. Ten trees are planted with every ecard purchased.

Green Adventures May 2017

Air Pollution around the world