Top 10 worst cities for air pollution

With thousands of people dying every year due to poor air quality in these cities, something must be done to alleviate the problem.

This week it was reported that almost 9,500 people lose their lives each year in London due to air pollution-related health problems – almost twice as much as previously thought.

According to research by Kings College London, deaths are caused by two main factors: PM2.5s or Particulate Matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size and the highly toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Although this news is worrying for residents of the capital, there are cities in the world that are dealing with the problem on a much larger scale:

10. Kabul, Afghanistan.

Because of the war in Afghanistan, the nation’s capital has been bombarded with refugees from surrounding areas and although the city’s infrastructure is designed for around 5,000 residents, it is now forced to support over 5 million. The overcrowding has caused more gas-powered generators and wood-burning stoves to be used and this is only contributing to the increasing problem of air pollution in the city.
9. Hong Kong, China.
The Air Pollution Index, which rates how likely you are to fall ill from dirty air, rated Hong Kong at level 500 for many areas of the city – the highest level possible. This prompted the government to warn people against participating in outdoor activities to prevent citizens developing respiratory problems which may eventually lead to death.
8. Guangzhou, China.

With a population of nearly 12 million, it is no surprise that Guangzhou has one of the worst levels of pollution in China and with its growing industrial sector, more and more people are suffering from asthma, nausea and dizziness.

7. Chongqing, China.

Proving yet again that China has a problem with air pollution, Chongqing has extremely high levels of particles in the air due to the number of power plants cropping up all over the city and recent studies have shown that a worrying 4.63% of children under 14 suffer from asthma.

6. Cairo, Egypt.

According to a survey by WHO, living in the city is equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Cairo is also exposed to a poisonous “black cloud” occasionally as farmers partake in the seasonal burning of rice.

5. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The high levels of air pollution in the city have caused a higher than normal number of cases of chronic bronchitis and cardiovascular diseases. The visibility is also so poor during the day that commuters are forced to use their headlights in order to drive safely.

4. Mexico City, Mexico.

According to research conducted by the University of Salzburg, Mexico City has deadly levels of nearly every airborne pollutant including the toxic carbon monoxide. The city also holds the title of having the highest level of ground-level ozone in the world, according to WHO.

3. Santiago, Chile.

In Santiago, a warning is alerted when the city’s airborne particulate matter exceeds 200 micrograms per cubic meter. However, in 2008, the level hit 444 micrograms. Santiago also has the second highest level of ground-level ozone in the world.

2. New Delhi, India.

The levels of pollution in the city are six times higher than what WHO deems “safe”. The Harvard International Review also reported that two in every five of the city’s 13.8 million residents suffer from some sort of respiratory illness. The main source of pollution is dust being kicked up from overcrowded roads and this puts taxi drivers and construction workers at risk from suffering an early death.

1. Beijing, China.

Beijing’s air pollution has gotten so bad to the point where only rainfall can clear the air (see above). Because of this, officials have asked small children, the elderly and people with respiratory ailments to refrain from being outdoors for a long period of time. The problem temporarily improved during the 2008 Summer Olympics due to the ban on cars but worsened again when the games concluded.

via Top 10 worst cities for air pollution | Environment | The News Hub.

About Respro® UK Ltd

Respro® Masks: Cycle masks, motorcycle masks and allergy masks. External wear for internal protection.
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2 Responses to Top 10 worst cities for air pollution

  1. kellyn says:

    I moved to Cairo a few months ago and have been bombarded with smoke. I have gotten sick twice with very bad sinus infections. which mask (set/combination) do you recommend?

    • Hi Kellyn

      Try the Ultralight mask as this is both effective against dust particulates and suitable for hotter climates.


      It is important that a mask fits correctly otherwise air will just pass through the gaps and not function how it is intended. Even if it has the best filter; if it is a poor fit it will reduce its ability to filter out the pollutants.

      If you do use our website service, we strongly recommend that you send in your details to confirm your sizing. We ask this so that we can ensure you have the correct size and that the mask will be of benefit to you or those who are using it. It is also important for any sizing issues that may arise so we are able to assess and resolve any problems.

      Please see the following link for sizing assistance and supply the following measurements so we can confirm your size:

      Neck size:
      Head size:
      Eye to chin length:

      (most people know their height)
      (most people know their weight)
      Neck Size:
      Using piece of cotton or string, measure the circumference around the neck. use a ruler to determine the length of string. This is the neck circumference. Easier still check your shirt size.
      Head size (AKA Hat Size):
      Using piece of cotton or string, measure the circumference around the head. use a ruler to determine the length of string. This is the head or hat size circumference.
      Eye to Chin:
      Take a piece of string and place it between the eyes on the top of the nose bridge, run the string over the tip of your nose and down to just under the chin. This is the eye to chin length.

      Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

      Best regards
      Harrison | Respro® UK Customer services
      Respro® Masks – The ‘Original’ and still the best – Made in the UK – Established 1993 | | respromask review

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