20 Dirtiest Cities

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20 Dirtiest Cities

The dirtiest cities in the world should probably not even be mentioned on the Growing Green Cities Network. If we’re looking up, why look down after all? Learning how bad it can get is a good method of preventing similar happening anywhere else. On CNN we found an article titled ‘Top 20 most polluted cities in the world‘. We have added all of these cities to our GGC Map with deep grey dots. In this article only the air pollution is mentioned. A few of the cities mentioned in the article, such as Delhi and Patna carry up to 6 times PM2.5 of what the WHO considers to be ‘safe’.

PM2.5 refers to the size of the particular matter such as ammonia, carbon, nitrates and sulfate — which are small enough to pass into the bloodstream and cause diseases such as emphysema and cancer.


Interestingly, nearly all the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in India. The CNN article is very sparse on the causes for this. “Originally designed as compact entities to reduce the length of travel … (Indian cities) are becoming victims of killer pollution, congestion … and a crippling car-dependent infrastructure,” according to India’s Center for Science and Environment.


Remarkably enough, Chinese cities are not present on the list of the 20 most pollutes cities. The Chinese are actively battling pollution. Premier Li Keqiang said in the beginning of the year that China would “declare war on pollution” and apparently it is working. China is shutting down coal plants and replacing inefficient steel smelters, aluminum and cement producers to reach this goal. At the same time they’re investing in clean tech, more efficient consumer goods and renewable energy.

The good News

China shows that it is in fact possible to make a difference. It costs a lot of money to do so but it also creates a lot of employment opportunities and the investments can become profitable over time.