Skip to content
Green
Energy & Science

These Are the Places With the Dirtiest Air in the World (and the Cleanest)

An analysis of real-time monitoring data shows wide disparities in deadly air pollution among nations as climate change makes the air dirtier.

Pedestrians in Beijing, which was shrouded in polluted air after a sandstorm in March 2021. 

Pedestrians in Beijing, which was shrouded in polluted air after a sandstorm in March 2021. 

Photographer: Yan Cong/Bloomberg

  Hundreds of millions of people around the world are breathing dirty air that far exceeds health guidelines, and climate change is making pollution worse, according to a new report that analyzed real-time air quality data from tens of thousands of monitoring stations.

Those sensors measured levels of PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 micrometers and smaller in length that’s found in vehicle exhaust, power plant emissions, desert dust storms and smoke from cooking stoves and wildfires. Scientists have linked exposure to PM2.5 with heart and lung disease and 7 million premature deaths each year.