And they are not India or China, Middle East nations are bigger culprits
Even as the debate rages on over the effects of Climate Change, rising global temperature and Arctic ice loss, a series of maps based on a new research have revealed that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the most “toxic” countries on Earth, surpassing the usual suspects India and China.
The research, by UK-headquartered The Eco Experts, is based on data from the International Energy Agency and World Health Organization, and names Saudi Arabia as the world’s most polluted country with highest recorded air pollution, and Kenya as the least polluted.
It ranked each country’s performance on five parameters — per capita energy consumption, per capita CO2 emissions, air pollution, per 10,000 capita deaths attributable to air pollution and renewable energy production. The ranks for each country were then averaged to give an overall impression of a country’s toxicity.
No India or China
What is indeed shocking about the results is that India and China — who are often targeted at all global Climate Change forums for their notorious air quality — do not even feature in the list of 10 most polluted countries. China figures on the 20th spot, while India doesn’t find a mention in the top 20 also. The map also shows India in a dark yellow color thus showing lesser toxicity levels than the more polluted ones in red (China) and deep maroon.
Similarly, the oil-rich Gulf nations, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE, who all feature prominently in the top 10 list are never a topic of discussion on climate change forums. While these Gulf nations have some of the lowest renewable energy production despite having an ideal climate – low rainfall and prolonged daylight hours – for solar energy, they also have some of the highest number of deaths attributable to air pollution. This, The Eco Experts, feels is an unwillingness to change.
Some of the Central Asian countries like Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan also feature in the list. Turkmenistan, for instance, witnesses 108 deaths per 100,000 every year.
China is incidentally planning to invest £292 billion in renewable energy by 2020, thus indicating that while the country’s pollution levels are notoriously high, it is actively looking for greener future and therefore falls lower down the toxicity ranking.
Another fact startling fact is the Nordic countries are some of the biggest energy guzzlers, despite their progressive attitude towards sustainability and renewable energy – one more issue that is NEVER discussed on any climate forums. Iceland has the highest energy consumption in the world, with Norway, Finland and Sweden all ranking in the top 10 energy consuming countries in the world.
It is hoped that this research puts even pressure on global leaders to put in place safeguards against climate change in the hope of saving the planet from a dangerous future.
The 20 most toxic countries
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Bosnia and Herzegovenia
- FYR of Macedonia
Least polluted places
The least toxic nations according to the report are mostly African nations such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Zambia, Congo DR, where a lack of industrialisation has led to less polluted air.
The UK ranks 81st for toxicity, faring better than other economic powerhouses such as the US (66th), Germany (63rd), and Russia (26th) – but it does have some of the worst CO2 emissions in the world, the group said.