The World’s Most Polluted Cities

The World’s Most Polluted Cities - The...

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The World’s Most Polluted Cities Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani, On Monday 10 October 2011, 18:06 SGT Emerging nations around the world are often heralded for their fast growth but we don't often hear about the downsides of that rapid development. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report on air quality in countries around the globe, on which we based a list of the ten most polluted countries. Almost all the worst offenders are either major oil and gas producers, or emerging economies that are growing rapidly. The WHO study looked at air quality in 91 countries, measured by the amount of PM10 particles per cubic meter. PM10 particles are particles of 10 micrometers or less that can cause diseases and infections. According to the WHO, PM10 levels above 20 micrograms per cubic meter can cause health risks. The top ten most polluted countries have PM10 levels from six times to14 times that level. So, which countries have the world's worst air quality?
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10. Kuwait Pollution level: 123 ug/m3 Kuwait is one of four oil-rich Middle Eastern nations to make the list. It is also the fourth largest exporter of oil among OPEC countries, with the petroleum industry accounting for half of Kuwait's GDP. Kuwait made headlines during the first Gulf War in 1990 when Iraqi troops set fire to its oil fields, creating massive air pollution and ground contamination. That led to a decades long environmental clean up. Today, pollution is largely caused by local oil refineries and industrial plants. Last year, 15,000 students protested against pollution but the government has maintained that levels of air pollution are within environmental standards. Some plants though have been temporarily closed to improve air quality. A 2010 global survey by consulting firm Gallup found that 57 percent of Kuwaitis were dissatisfied with the air quality in the area they lived in. Local residents are reported to suffer from high rates of respiratory diseases such as asthma, cancer and skin conditions.
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9. Nigeria Pollution level: 124 ug/m3 Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous in the world with over 155 million people. Rapid urbanization and economic development have led to haphazard industrial planning in cities like Lagos that are struggling with waste management and high levels of pollution. The country is also Africa's largest oil producer, accounting for 2.3 million barrels of crude per day, according to the International Energy Agency. The Niger Delta region, where the world's biggest energy companies operate, has experienced some of the worst oil spills in history. In August, a United Nations report said 50 years of oil pollution in the Ogoniland area may require the world's biggest and longest cleanup. The 14-month study showed deeper pollution than previously thought in an area that is home to about one million people. The report said it could take 25 to 30 years to clean up the contaminated drinking water, land and ecosystems. Pipeline vandalism to feed a black-market in oil is common in the region and often contributes to oil spills.
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course EDU 102 taught by Professor G.s.ghai during the Summer '11 term at International Institute for Higher Education.

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The World’s Most Polluted Cities - The...

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