Top 20 Most Polluted Countries in the World

Nearly all countries in the world have dangerous levels of air pollution, and the most polluted countries in the world have levels over 15 times the WHO recommended limit. Smart Air analyzed 2021 air pollution data provided by IQAir for 6475 cities from 117 countries to determine the most polluted countries in the world, along with capital cities.

Top 20 Most Polluted Countries in World

Below are the rankings of the most polluted countries in the world. These rankings are based on average annual PM2.5 levels. Data source: IQAir.

1. Bangladesh (76.9 µg/m3)

Bangalore air quality ranked worst in world

2. Chad (75.9 µg/m3)

Chad air pollution ranked 2nd worst in the world in 2021

3. Pakistan (66.8 µg/m3)

Pakistan air quality ranked one of worst in world

4. Tajikistan (59.4 µg/m3)

Tajikistan air quality ranked one of worst in world

5. India (58.1 µg/m3)

India air quality ranked one of worst in world

6. Oman (53.9 µg/m3)

Oman air quality ranked one of worst in world

7. Kyrgyzstan (50.8 µg/m3)

Kyrgystan air quality ranked one of worst in world

8. Bahrain (49.8 µg/m3)

Bahrain air quality ranked one of worst in world

9. Iraq (49.7 µg/m3)

Iraq air quality ranked one of worst in world

10. Nepal (46.0 µg/m3)

Nepal air quality ranked one of worst in world

11. Sudan (46.0 µg/m3)

Sudan air quality ranked one of worst in world

12. Uzbekistan (42.8 µg/m3)

Uzbekistan air quality ranked one of worst in world

13. Qatar (38.2 µg/m3)

Qatar air quality ranked one of worst in world

14. Afghanistan (37.5 µg/m3)

Afghanistan air quality ranked one of worst in world

15. United Arab Emirates (36.0 µg/m3)

United Arab Emirates air quality ranked one of worst in world

16. Montenegro (35.2 µg/m3)

Montenegro air quality ranked one of worst in world

17. Indonesia (34.3 µg/m3)

Indonesia air quality ranked one of worst in world

18. Nigeria (34.0 µg/m3)

Nigeria air quality ranked one of worst in world

19. Armenia (33.9 µg/m3)

Armenia air quality ranked one of worst in world

20. Mongolia (33.1 µg/m3)

Mongolia air quality ranked one of worst in world

Read More: The 25 Least Polluted Cities of 2021?

Read More: <a href="http://<!– wp:generateblocks/headline {"uniqueId":"166d6fff","element":"p","marginTop":"30"} –> <p class="gb-headline gb-headline-166d6fff gb-headline-text">Read More: <a href="https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/25-least-polluted-cities-in-the-world-2020-rankings/">The 25 Least Polluted Cities in the World?</a></p> <!– /wp:generateblocks/headline –> <!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Read More: <a href="https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/25-most-polluted-cities-world-2021-rankings/">The 25 Most Polluted Cities in the World? </a></p> The 25 Most Polluted Cities of 2021?

Top 20 Most Polluted Capital Cities

Below are the rankings of the most polluted capital cities in the world. These rankings are based on average annual PM2.5 levels.

Most polluted capital cities in the world
Data Source: IQAir

Analysis of Most Polluted Countries in World 

Of the 20 most polluted countries in the world, 16 countries are located in Asia while two countries are from Africa and Europe. Montenegro is the only country from Europe on the list.

All of the ranked countries had average air quality many times above the WHO recommended healthy limit. The worst country on the list, Bangladesh, averaged PM2.5 levels over 15-times higher than the WHO recommended limit. Even the best country on the list (ranked 20th), Mongolia, averaged PM2.5 levels 6-times the WHO recommended limit. 

Data bias

Some readers may note that only one country in Africa – N’Djamena, Chad made the list. No cities or countries in South America were on the list. This does not mean that these countries aren’t polluted. Africa and South America lack air pollution reporting tools, so it is difficult to know the pollution levels on the ground in many of these cities.

Air Pollution World Map Paints a Clearer Picture

Below is a world pollution map. WHO research shows that 99% of people in the world live in areas with high air pollution and unsafe air. This unsafe air quality results in millions of deaths from increased diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and more.

Most polluted countries in the world

How Air Pollution Was Measured to Find Most Polluted Cities in World

Our air contains various pollutants, both particles and gases. One of the most commonly tracked pollutants is very small, fine particles called PM2.5.

These small pollutants are under 2.5 micrograms in width and are considered to be one of the more dangerous pollutants due to their ability to enter deep into the lungs and bloodstream. The above rankings of the most polluted cities in the world were ranked based on their 2021 average PM2.5 pollution levels.

PM2.5 India

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