Global Pollution Levels

Better Earth gives you real-time access to pollution levels wherever you are in the world. Here you can view air quality levels, water pollution levels, and land pollution levels in different cities across the globe. We also offer pollution forecasting so you can see the pollution predictions for the day and plan your outdoor and indoor activities accordingly. Enter your location to view levels in your area, or drop the pin anywhere on the globe to explore how the pollution levels in your location compares.

At Better Earth we also propose tangible ways you can help improve the environment. Whether it’s a small daily adjustment, or a larger longer term goal for you and your household, we’re here to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to effectively influence the climate and our planet’s future. With us, you’ll discover how to improve the air quality in your home and how you can even improve the air quality outdoors. We’ll walk you through the most effective sustainable practices that you can employ in your own life. We all need to be better. Let’s be better together.

What is pollution?

The definition of pollution is the introduction of harmful substances to the environment. A  material or substance that is harmful or poisonous to the environment is known as a pollutant. Some pollutants are natural, for example: volcanic ash or particles from a dust storm. And some pollutants are created by humans and our activities. Substances that cause pollution can be in the form of gas, liquids, and solids. When these pollutants are introduced to the environment, they circulate in our air, waterways, and soil and cause harmful effects.

In 2015, pollution was responsible for 9 million deaths. That’s 16% of deaths globally for the year. The pollution reached these 9 million victims through air, water, soil, chemicals, and their workplaces.

What are the different types of pollution?

When we hear the word pollution, we often think of air pollution or water pollution. There are other types of pollution that are harmful to the environment that are less commonly discussed, including land pollution, light pollution and noise pollution.

Water pollution describes harmful substances in our waterways. These waterways include oceans and seas, lakes, rivers, streams, rain, basins, wells, and yes, our drinking water.

Air pollution describes the air quality and harmful particulates and gasses found in both indoor air and outdoor air.

Land pollution is the contamination of soil and land. Soil and land can either be directly contaminated by harmful substances, or the substances can be introduced by being carried by water or wind. Land pollution can be caused by agricultural practices that use chemical fertilizers and pesticides or other waste matter that is disposed of in the area.

Light pollution describes the introduction of light to natural darkness. This manmade introduction of light affects the darkness of the night sky. Light pollution has harmful effects on natural cycles of plants and animals. An example of light pollution is that on a cloudless night you will see fewer stars in or near a city than you can observe from the countryside.

Noise pollution describes harmful levels of manmade sounds. Noise pollution is often created by industrial machinery, transportation such as planes, trains, and car traffic, factories, and city infrastructure. This type of pollution has harmful effects on the environment because it is disruptive to natural cycles. It can also have harmful physical and psychological health effects on humans.

What are the most polluted cities in the world?

As you’ll see from playing with the map above, pollution levels can change day to day. There are also a number of different ways to measure pollution, and air pollution in particular. One consistent test run by the World Health Organization (WHO) measures the amount of ultra-fine particles in the air. These statistics measure particles that measure less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s). To put the following findings in perspective, the WHO recommends air not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3). The following cities ranked highest for annual averages of ultra-fine particles in the air in 2016:

Zabol, Iran – 217 μg/m3

Gwalior, India – 176 μg/m3

Allahabad, India – 170 μg/m3

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – 156 μg/m3

Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia – 152 μg/m3

Patna, India – 149 μg/m3

Raipur, India – 144 μg/m3

Bamenda, Cameroon – 132 μg/m3

Xingtai, China – 128 μg/m3

Baoding, China – 126 μg/m3

Delhi, India – 122 μg/m3

Ludhiana, India – 122 μg/m3

Dammam, Saudi Arabia – 121 μg/m3

Shijiazhuang, China – 121 μg/m3

Kanpur, India – 115 μg/m3

Khanna, India – 114 μg/m3

Firozabad, India – 113 μg/m3

Lucknow, India – 113 μg/m3

Handan, China – 112 μg/m3

Peshawar, Pakistan – 111 μg/m3

The WHO is currently updating their database for 2017. This page will be updated when the 2017 numbers are available.

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