- Published on Friday, 06 July 2012 06:45
- Written by BC-Stuff
Pollution is a big problem in many cities around the world. It has been a serious threat to environmentalist in all developed countries. Efforts are being made to overcome the growing pollution in the world but for some cities it’s too much, and those are the ones where it hits the hardest. So if you’re a neat freak avoid these ten cities.
In many cities air pollution is reaching levels that threaten people's health according to an unprecedented compilation of air quality data released today by WHO (World Health Organization). The information includes data from nearly 1100 cities across 91 countries, including capital cities and cities with more than 100,000 residents. WHO estimates more than 2 million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles present in indoor and outdoor air pollution. PM10 particles, which are particles of 10 micrometers or less, which can penetrate into the lungs and may enter the bloodstream, can cause heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and acute lower respiratory infections. The WHO air quality guidelines for PM10 is 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an annual average, but the data released today shows that average PM10 in some cities has reached up to 300 µg/m3.
India, Pakistan and Mongolia were also amongst the worst for pollution in cities whilst Canadian and American cities had some of the best scores. For example, Washington has a score of just 18 micrograms per cubic meter of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometers.
The WHO report found that the Iranian city of Ahvaz had the highest measured level of airborne particles smaller than 10 micrometres. The recommended upper limit for these particles set by the WHO is 20 micrograms per cubic metre- in Ahvas the annual average was a substantial 372 micrograms per cubic metre which is 19 times over the limit. Another Iranian city, Sanandaj had 254 micrograms per cubic meter.
In both developed and developing countries, the largest contributors to urban outdoor air pollution include motor transport, small-scale manufacturers and other industries, burning of biomass and coal for cooking and heating, as well as coal-fired power plants. Residential wood and coal burning for space heating is an important contributor to air pollution, especially in rural areas during colder months.
“Local actions, national policies and international agreements are all needed to curb pollution and reduce its widespread health effects" said Dr Michal Krzyzanowski, Head of the WHO European Center for Environment and Health in Bonn, Germany. "Data from air quality monitoring that is released today, identify regions where action is most needed and allows us to assess the effectiveness of implemented policies and actions.”
The world's average PM10 levels by region range from 21 to 142 ug/m3, with a world's average of 71 ug/m3. The eastern Mediterranean have some of the worst area followed by Africa and the Western Pacific.
1. Baghdad – Iraq
Baghdad is the most troubled and vulnerable city of the world due to ongoing war. Frequent bomb blasts and destruction have risen the level of pollution in the city. Also because of poor water quality there have appeared many water-borne diseases in the city.
A report by the UN's Environment Programme (Unep) said the water and sewerage systems needed immediate repair and that pollution "hotspots" had to be tackled.
It said rubbish and medical waste had to be removed to reduce the risk of epidemics.
The study, released on Thursday, also suggested scientists carry out a prompt risk assessment of sites struck by depleted-uranium (DU) munitions.
Decades of abuse
Pekka Haavisto, chairman of the study, said: "Many environmental problems in Iraq are so alarming that an immediate assessment and a cleanup plan are needed urgently."
The report said that the 2003 Iraqi conflict had added to environmental stress from the 1991 Gulf War, the 1980s Iran-Iraq war and the mismanagement and abuses of the regime of Saddam Hussein.
It said this year's war had caused:
- Accumulated damage to water and sanitation systems, leading to higher levels of pollution and health risks
- Continuous electricity cuts, often stopping the pumps that remove sewage and circulate water
- Power failures affecting pumps that remove saline water from land in southern Iraq, flooding fields and contaminating them with salt
- Smoke from oil well fires and burning oil trenches that added to air pollution and soil contamination
- A degrading of the ecosystem because of heavy bombing and the movement of large numbers of vehicles and troops
The report said DU munitions had probably "caused environmental contamination of as-yet unknown levels or consequences".
The Iraqi public should be given advice on how to avoid potential exposure to DU, it said.
The British Government has said it will help to clean up DU in Iraq, but the US has said it has no plans to remove the debris.
The UN report is a "desk study" that provides an overview of the environmental situation in Iraq but is not based on on-site knowledge.
The United Nations says urgent action is needed to tackle an environmental crisis in Iraq worsened by war damage and increased pollution.
2. Brunei – Darussalam
Brunei is a small country in South Asia but that didn’t stop her to be on this list. In this country are measured enormous amounts of carbon dioxide produced by vehicles.
Theeffort to keep Brunei's rivers clean and safe and vital mangroves intact is proving to be a gigantic task for the sultanate.
The rivers and mangroves are slowly but surely being destroyed by untreated domestic sewage, sewage effluent, urban waste run-off and worsening mangrove cutting, the Asean Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC) warned.
The pollution is worst in Kampong Ayer, a water village of more than 40,000 inhabitants, although there is also a significant amount of pollution caused by increased wastes coming directly from the capital.
Indiscriminate dumping of solid waste in the streams and rivers, especially in the Brunei-Muara District, is a problem that needs serious attention, ARCBC noted.
Disposal of solid and organic wastes from houses situated close to rivers and streams is contributing to worsening water quality and adversely affects the fish and invertebrate population of the rivers.
3. Dhaka – Bangladesh
Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh located in southern Asia, between Burma and India. The capital is battling with the constant threats of water pollution. Surface water is often thick with disease and pollutants from the use of commercial pesticides.
With a population of over 15 million Dhaka is one of the most congested cities of the world. This rapidly growing city is located on the northern bank of the river Buriganga and surrounded by other rivers, namely, the Turag to the west, the Tongi Khal to the north and the Balu to the east. The rivers surrounding Dhaka are an advantage to it and essential for the survival of the mega city as these provide drainage system, drinking water, different kinds of fishes and also waterways for traveling. However, being the capital of Bangladesh -- one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world -- the city has been developed haphazardly without considering its physical and social diminution. As a result, the environmental consequences originating from rapid increase of population along with the increase of polluting effluents from industries, and municipal as well as other waste are having profound negative impacts on rivers around Dhaka city. In turn, the polluted waters of the rivers are posing increasing threats to the living organisms including humans residing by the rivers.
Around Dhaka, river water has altered from its natural state in terms of physical, chemical and microbiological composition and lost its suitability for any safe and beneficial use. The signs of contamination have become obvious through bad taste, offensive odours, unchecked growth of aquatic weeds, and decrease in the number of aquatic animals, floating of oil and grease, colouration of water and so on. Generally, rivers surrounding Dhaka are being polluted by the discharge of untreated industrial effluent, urban wastewater, agrochemicals, sewage water, storm runoff, solid waste dumping, oil spillage, sedimentation and also encroachment.
Over the last couple of decades major industrialisation has been observed in Dhaka, especially in dyeing, washing and textiles sectors. Estimation reveals that there are over 7,000 industries in Dhaka metropolitan area located mostly in three clusters, namely, Hazaribagh, Tejgaon, and Dhaka- Narayanganj- Demra dam area (Roy, 2009). However, among all these the dyeing factories and tanneries are the main polluters of the rivers. Waste from these industries is usually connected to the sewerage system that directly follows to the rivers around the city. As a matter of fact, the rivers have become a dumping ground of all kinds of solid, liquid and other chemical waste.
Polluted water of Buriganga, Turag, Dhaleshwari, Balu, and Narai flowing around the greater Dhaka city is posing serious threats to public life as it is unfit for human use (Institute for Environment and Development Studies, 2003). People living near the rivers, having no other alternative, are forced to use polluted river water. Some also use the water because they are unaware of the health risks. This causes spread of water borne and skin diseases. Solid waste and different effluents dumped into the rivers make it difficult for fishes and other sub-aquatic organisms to live. When solid waste and effluents run into the river, the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the water rises, creating oxygen crisis for the sub aqueous life. As the dissolved oxygen (DO) content of the river water is decreased below the critical level of four milligrams per liter it is posing threats to bio-diversity in and around the rivers.
Pollution is so severe in the Buriganga, Shitalakhya and Balu rivers that it is almost impossible to treat the water for making it suitable for human use. The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is supplying stinky water purified by chlorine and ammonia sulfate. Moreover, due to river encroachment and dumping of solid waste into the rivers the rivers are loosing their natural flow. Thus, the waterways are shrinking and the alternative way of communication around Dhaka city through rivers turned unsuccessful.
4. Karachi – Pakistan
Karachi is the metropolitan city and business hub of Pakistan: On one side the image of Karachi is being projected as major and industrial city of Pakistan but on the other hand pollution-related diseases in Karachi are on the rise due to intolerable levels of air and noise pollution in the city. Some 35 percent of people in one way or another are affected by these ailments including cardiac, lung, ENT, skin, eye and psychological diseases.
Pollution-related diseases in Karachi are on the rise due to unbearable levels of air and noise pollution in the metropolis, and some 35 percent of people in one way or another are affected by these ailments including cardiac, lung, eye, ENT, skin and psychological diseases, said local healthcare experts.
Head of the JPMC’s chest department Dr Nadeem Rizvi said that air pollution in the city was going from bad to worse and almost all main arteries of the city were covered in thick fumes and smog of dangerous gases during rush hour. He said that they were witnessing a rising trend in lung diseases and patients of asthma and other chest diseases such as chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).
The general secretary of the Pakistan Medical Association’s (PMA) Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that smoke-emitting vehicles, especially rickshaws, were the main culprit of air and noise pollution. He said that the incidence nasal allergy, nasal polyp, sore throat and other ENT problems were rising and noise pollution was causing problems such as hearing impairment, headaches and hypertension. He suggested that two-stroke rickshaws be converted into four-stroke rickshaws and are run on CNG to counter pollution and the engine fitness of all vehicles, especially public transport, be strictly ensured.
Dr Naeem Iqbal, a skin specialist at the Social Security Hospital, said that air pollution might cause skin allergies and rashes, especially in children and the elderly.
5. Lagos – Nigeria
Lagos is the commercial capital and largest city in Nigeria. The hovering smoke over the city blurs the skyline of the central business area of Nigeria’s commercial capital. The city of 12 million residents and one of the biggest cities in Africa is facing a huge air pollution problem.
6. Mexico City – Mexico
Mexico City the capital of Mexico has gone from among the worlds cleanest to among the dirtiest in the span of a generation. The average visibility of some 100 km in 1940s is down to about 1.5 km. Snow-capped volcanoes that were once parts of the landscape are now visible only rarely and levels of almost any pollutant like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is regularly breaking international standards by two to three times. Levels of ozone a pollutant that protects us from solar radiation in the upper atmosphere but is dangerous to breathe, is twice as high here as the maximum allowed limit.
7. Moscow- Russia
Despite claims that Moscow is the most important and capital city of Russia and where people pay an average $3,000 a month for a three bedroom apartment does not even have clean running water, Moscow also has a huge level of air pollution which is resulting in daily strain on lung health. Cholera is on the rise in some of parts of Moscow due to filthy areas where there is no adequate arrangement to dispose of garbage.
8. Maputo – Mozambique
Maputo is the capital and the largest city of Mozambique located on the bank of Indian Ocean. It is suffering from lack of sanitation processes – specifically the lack of a solid waste removal system as well as sewage treatment has created difficulties for people over there. Huge garbage dumps and piles of garbage seem scattered in the streets, and the sewage in the river can be seen.
9. Mumbai – India
Mumbai is one of the most populated cities of the world so you can see piles of garbage in various streets of the city. It is also considered to be one of the busiest and crowded cities of the world. There are places in the city where you would perhaps not want to go due to stink that comes from filthy garbage scattered over there. The pollution in these areas is massive and is spoiling the beauty of the city on daily basis.
10. New Delhi – India
Garbage and sewage is creating water-borne diseases contributing to extremely high rates of infant morbidity in New Delhi.