10 most polluted countries in Africa according to IQAir

For a long time, air pollution has been the greatest threat to human health. Breathing is essential for human survival, but inhaling polluted air can be detrimental to one’s well-being.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for an estimated seven million premature deaths worldwide every year, and causes an estimated one in every nine deaths worldwide.

A recent World Air Quality Report by IQAir provides a global review of air quality data for the year 2023. It compiles PM2.5 air quality data from 7,812 cities across 134 countries, regions, and territories. The report gathers information from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations.

According to the report, exposure to PM2.5 (micrograms per cubic meter) air pollution leads to and exacerbates numerous health conditions, including but not limited to asthma, cancer, stroke, and lung disease.

In 2023, 10 out of the reporting 134 countries and regions succeeded in achieving the WHO annual PM2.5 guideline value of 5 μg/m3. much more work remains to be done to combat air pollution.

The report revealed a concerning disparity: the scarcity of monitoring stations in countries across Africa, South America, and the Middle East, leading to a shortage of air quality data in those regions.

Although Africa saw an improvement in the number of countries included in this year’s report compared with previous years the continent largely remains the most underrepresented.

The African nations of Chad and Sudan are notably absent in 2023 due to a lack of publicly available monitoring data. According to IQAir, only 24 of 54 African countries had sufficient data available from their monitoring stations.

Below are the 10 most polluted countries in Africa according to IQAir:

[th]Global Rank[/th]
1 Burkina Faso 46.6 22,100,683 5
2 Egypt 42.4 109,262,178 9
3 Democratic Republic of Congo 40.8 95,894,118 10
4 Rwanda 36.8 13,461,888 15
5 Zimbabwe 33.3 15,993,524 16
6 Ghana 33.2 32,833,031 17
7 Libya 30.4 6,735,277 20
8 Gambia 28.5 2,639,916 24
9 Senegal 28.2 16,876,720 26
10 Uganda 27.3 45,853,778 28

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