World's most polluted countries: Bangladesh tops the list
Dhaka, Mar 23: Bangladesh was the most polluted country in the world in 2021, says the World Air Quality Report prepared by the Swiss-based air quality technology company IQAir in its latest report released on Tuesday.
In terms of particulate matter in the air, Bangladesh recorded an average PM2.5 level of 76.9 micrograms per cubic metre in 2021 against the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended maximum permissible level of 5 micrograms per cubic metre.
Earlier, in 2018, 2019 and 2020 also Bangladesh was found to be the most polluted country in the world. However, the PM2.5 level has shown a decline in Bangladesh from 77.1 micrograms per cubic metre in 2020 which was even higher at 83.3 in 2019 and 97.1 in 2018.
The data reveals that not a single country in the world managed to meet the WHO's air quality standard in 2021. All over the world, 93 cities reported PM 2.5 levels at 10 times the recommended level.
Among the cities, Dhaka was the second most polluted city in the world with a PM 2.5 level of 78.1 just below New Delhi which had a PM 2.5 level of 85.1 in 2021.
IQAir analysed data from 6475 cities across 117 countries for air quality in 2021 to arrive at the conclusion. Countries and regions in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia suffered from the highest annual average PM2.5 concentration weighted by population.
In 2021, Central and South Asia had some of the world's worst air quality and was home to 46 of the world's 50 most polluted cities. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, 70 percent of global air quality related deaths occur in this region.
Air pollution is now considered to be the world's largest environmental health threat, accounting for seven million deaths around the world every year.
Air pollution causes and aggravates many diseases, ranging from asthma to cancer, lung illnesses and heart disease.The estimated daily economic cost of air pollution has been figured at USD 8 billion or 3 to 4 percent of the gross world product, says the report.