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Countries with the Most Air Pollution

Name the countries with the highest level of human exposure to particulate matter.
For the year 2017 according to the World Bank
Includes particulate matter from human pollution and natural sources such as sand (hint!)
Quiz by Quizmaster
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First submittedJune 18, 2016
Last updatedMay 10, 2019
Times taken26,839
Rating3.97
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μg/m3
Country
99.7
Nepal
94.1
Niger
91.2
Qatar
90.9
India
87.9
Saudi Arabia
87.0
Egypt
72.8
Cameroon
μg/m3
Country
71.8
Nigeria
70.8
Bahrain
66.0
Chad
61.6
Iraq
60.8
Bangladesh
60.7
Kuwait
58.3
Pakistan
μg/m3
Country
56.9
Afghanistan
56.8
Central African Republic
55.4
Sudan
54.3
Libya
53.2
Equatorial Guinea
52.7
China
+3
level 72
Jun 18, 2016
Taiwan is pretty polluted, but the World Bank's list doesn't include Taiwan at all.
+4
level 57
Jun 21, 2016
+1 Probably a Chinese source ;)
+3
level 14
Oct 10, 2016
Taiwan to some is considered a part of China, not a country... yet.
+6
level 72
May 11, 2019
Definitely a country - has its own military, currency, system of government, border controls.
+7
level 84
May 10, 2019
Taiwan actually cleaned up its pollution problems over the past decade. They are a world leader in recycling, and generate much less air pollution now that most factories have moved to China
+1
level 27
Jul 2, 2019
And I don't see the U.S., Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico on this list...
+2
level 81
Jun 18, 2016
Includes "natural sources" - that must be the sandstorms in the desert, so many of these countries are in and around Sahara.
+1
level 71
Aug 8, 2016
Volcanic sources too - thought Iceland was a special
+3
level 66
Aug 8, 2016
Yeah, when I figured that out I just started typing in desert countries. Surprised no micronations are on this list, because in those cases the entire country is a city, and any modern city is way more poluted than the surrounding country side.
+1
level 43
Jul 26, 2016
100% ! 40 seconds remaining... Surprise for Mauritania
+4
level 66
Aug 8, 2016
I flirted with the idea of Nepal being on the list but didn't type it. I thought a country in the middle of the Himalayas would have minimum pollution. Alas! Didn't read the natural sources part. I suppose the frequent blizzards might be why it's on the list.
+5
level 59
Aug 8, 2016
Kathmandu actually has plenty of pollution in it.
+4
level ∞
Aug 8, 2016
True. And this data measures human exposure. Most of the population of Nepal lives at lower elevation where pollution is heavy.
+4
level 71
May 14, 2019
Kathmandu is horrifically polluted. The biggest reason is unregulated car emissions, but it's exacerbated by general lack of development: they still use do things like use chimneyed cooking stoves and burn their trash. Yet there's still a huge population growth rate, and with money brought in by Everest climbers and the Tibetan religious refugees' followers/students (who are white, Western, and affluent),there are always development/construction projects going on, which stirs up tons of dust (Nepal isn't exactly lush). I don't know if Kathmandu itself is bad enough to drag the whole country's average down or if the whole country is just socked in by weather patterns, but either way, take an industrial-strength gas mask with you.
+1
level 76
Aug 8, 2016
Picked up all the ones in the Middle East but missed most of the ones in Africa.
+1
level 47
Aug 8, 2016
Holy middle east batman
+1
level 67
Aug 12, 2016
All the money received by some of these countries by oil production and they can't fix up their air pollution. What do they spend their billions and billions on?
+1
level ∞
Jan 4, 2017
Supercars!
+5
level 76
Jan 12, 2017
What's the most cost-effective way of stopping a sandstorm in the desert?
+4
level 33
Feb 25, 2017
throw all the sand from the sahara desert into the ocean.
+1
level 59
Aug 7, 2018
Get rid of the desert
+1
level 76
Mar 10, 2019
they go out and spray water on some of it around cities in Saudi Arabia, and also a tar-like substance in some places which is more effective.
+3
level 71
May 14, 2019
The oil money all goes to their country's insanely disproportionate 1%, who buy giant mansions in places like Monaco, the US, and Switzerland, garages full of priceless cars, yachts, private planes, and hotels in Beverly Hills – then spend most of their time out of the country frolicking. They don't give a flying turd about improving infrastructure or the plight of the poor in their home country (even if they're the rulers too, which often is the case).
+1
level 76
Jul 1, 2019
There's not really much they can do about the sandstorms in Saudi Arabia. They do a bit, as I described above, but the Arabian desert is pretty big. Also, though there are an estimated 30,000 princes in Saudi Arabia that's more like a tenth of one percent. And to be fair a lot of oil money HAS gone in to improving public infrastructure in these countries. You want to go and take a look at the roads and public transportation options in Dubai, and then compare those to what you might see in Egypt or Yemen? Pretty stark contrast. Though there is also a lot of corruption, but there's enough money to go around in many cases.
+1
level 50
Feb 14, 2018
Only missed Cameroon
+1
level 24
Nov 25, 2018
*gets Uganda with 14 seconds left* YEEE
+1
level 76
Dec 17, 2018
I've spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines and I feel like the air quality in the Philippines is markedly worse. Maybe not if you factor in the entire country as a whole, as most of the pollution in the Philippines surrounds major cities while the sand in the air in Saudi you can find everywhere.
+1
level 67
May 13, 2019
Burning wood for heat and cooking does not help. Fly over many of these countries at night and you see thousands and thousands of fires burning in the night.
+1
level 62
Jun 30, 2019
I associate pollution with the negative by-product of industry down through more individual contributions like consumer waste. Natural phenomena like sand storms seem to be heavily skewing these numbers.
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