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25 Dirtiest Cities In the World

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No. 25: Port Harcourt, Nigeria


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 46.8

Problems with waste disposal continue to contaminate the rivers of Nigeria, especially affecting residents in Port Harcourt. The area lacks strategies for preventing oil spills and contamination, and the clean-up methods after disasters require significant improvement.

No. 24: New Delhi, India


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 46.6

You'll find just about everything except marine life in New Delhi's Yamuna River. Garbage and sewage flow freely, creating a rich environment for the growth of water-borne diseases contributing to extremely high rates of infant morbidity.

No. 23: Maputo, Mozambique


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 46.3

Located on the Indian Ocean, the Eastern African country of Mozambique suffers from lack of sanitation processes--specific ally the lack of a solid waste removal system as well as sewage treatment. The capital city of Maputo feels the worst of these consequences. Piles of garbage line the streets, and the sewage in the river is visibly thick.

No. 22: Luanda, Angola


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 45.2

Located on Angola's coast with the Atlantic Ocean to its west, Luanda is the city's largest port. Studies from several agencies, including UNICEF and Oxfam, suggest that a large portion of the population in Luanda drink water of poor and in some cases dangerous quality. Much of this portion of the population lives in settlements called musseques built on hardened waste. Water arrives to these settlements in private tanks, which consistently show concerning levels of chlorine. Water conditions such as this only served to intensify a cholera epidemic in 2006.

No. 21: Niamey, Niger


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 45

The Niger River Basin, home to Niger's capital city, Niamey, is a cesspool of pollution and waste. In a country with a total population just under 14 million, the healthy life expectancy at birth is 35 for males and 36 for females, thanks in part to poor sanitation and drinkable water. About one in four children raised here will die before age 5, the World Health Organization says.

No. 20: Nouakchott, Mauritania


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 44.7

Located in northern Africa, Mauritania sits on the North Atlantic Ocean between Senegal and the western Sahara. Nouakchott, the country's capital, is located on the western coast. Due to the desert-like climate, droughts and water management are critical issues for the country. Oil deposits off the coast and iron ore serve as the country's main industrial opportunities, but the majority of the population depends on farming.

No. 19: Conakry, Guinea Republic


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 44.2

Life expectancy, infant morbidity, and the percentage of the population that has access to safe water are shockingly low for Conakry, the capital city of Guinea Republic. Previous World Bank initiatives in Conakry focused on water supply and sanitation have not proved very successful.

No. 18: Lome, Togo


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 44.1

Lomé, the capital city of Togo, sits in the southwest near the country's border with Ghana. Water and waste management has become one of the country's main problems as a large percentage of the population continues to live without access to improved water or sanitation. Extensive flooding in Togo only magnifies the problem.

No. 17: Pointe Noire, Congo


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 43.8

The second Congolese city on the list suffers from many of the same pollutants as its neighboring city, Brazzaville- -air pollution from vehicle emissions and unbridled water contamination from the mass unloading of raw sewage in the city's water supply. According to the CIA WorldFactBook, about 70% of the Congolese population live either in Brazzaville or Pointe Noire or along the railroad track, which connects the two.

No. 16: Bamako, Mali


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 43.7

Bamako, the capital of Mali, and the country's largest city is situated on the Niger River. Rapid population growth, coupled with unbridled urban pollution, are among the many health and sanitation challenges facing the capital. Several droughts have caused migration from rural areas to the urban environment of the capital, which has only led to more water management issues.

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No. 15: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 43.4

A recent World Bank study shows that cancer and respiratory disease rates are up due to increased air pollution in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Increased levels of benzene, from motorbike petrol, and increased dust particles, amounting on average to nearly three times the WHO-stated healthy limit, contribute to these rising numbers. In a city characterized by a rainy season, waste management and sanitation also face challenges.

No. 14: Moscow, Russia


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 43.2

In a city where you can pay $3,000 a month for an apartment that doesn't even have clean running water, Moscow also has troubling levels of air pollution, which present a daily strain on lung health.

No. 13: Bangui, Central African Republic


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 42.1

Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, faces water and sanitation challenges similar to its neighboring countries' capitals. A rapidly increasing population, coupled with a lack of adequate waste and water management, places stresses on the capital city.

No. 12: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 40.4

The capital of this east African country continues to grow populationwise, putting a stress on the city's sanitation programs. Solid waste, entering the Msimbazi River, contributes to widely spread infectious diseases among the population..

No. 11: Ndjamena, Chad


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 39.7

Ndjamena, the capital city of Chad, faces multi-faceted water management challenges. A main site for concern here is the Conventional Basin of Lake Chad, upon which the country's main fisheries greatly depend. Also noteworthy-- the continual influx of population growth, accelerated by the migration of neighboring Sudanese refugees from Darfur, which places an unexpected strain on water management.

No. 10: Brazzaville, Congo


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 39.1

Air pollution from emissions, lack of potable water and the contamination of the city's water from raw sewage contribute to the laundry list of health and sanitation concerns for Brazzaville, the capital of Congo. Each of these press upon the life expectancy of the local population.

No. 9: Almaty, Kazakhstan


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 39.1

The marriage of petroleum-based industry and insufficient safeguards against pollution sets the stage for an environmental crisis in this city. Toxic waste dumps require a huge price tag for improvement and an even larger price for neglect.

No. 8: Baghdad, Iraq


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 39

Poor water quality in Baghdad threatens to exacerbate the the transmission of water-borne diseases in the city. Fatal outbreaks of cholera struck several provinces of the country, including Baghdad from August 2007 to December 2007. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also says air pollution, resulting from burning oil and aggravated by war, is cause for concern.

No. 7: Mumbai, India


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 38.2

India's government hopes to transform Mumbai back into a burgeoning metropolis after recent economic decline. A recent private-sector report, Vision Mumbai, proposed changes in infrastructure, pollution control and economic growth strategy, which contributed to the seeking of approximately $1 billion of aid from Indian government.

No. 6: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 37.9

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, faces one of the worst sanitation problems on both the continent of Africa as well as in the world. The lack of adequate sanitation programs results in infant mortality, low life expectancy and the transmission of water-borne diseases.

No. 5: Mexico City, Mexico


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 37.7

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, and the capital of North American air pollution, estimates unhealthy ozone emissions nearly 85% of the year. Mexico's geographical location--in the center of a volcanic crater and surrounded by mountains--only serves to lock in the air pollution, causing smog to sit above the city.

No. 4: Port au Prince, Haiti


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 34

The country's politically inspired violence and corruption are well documented. Equally dangerous: its air and water. Serving as one of the main ports on the island of Hispaniola, Port au Prince is central to Haiti's economic development. A lack of pollution controls, however, contributes to the widespread environmental problems confronting the Haitian city.

No. 3: Antananarivo, Madagascar


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 30.1

Madagascar, located off of the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, makes this year's list with its capital city, Antananarivo. Well known for its variety of unique flora and fauna, Madagascar has often been referred to as the world's eighth continent, but the effects of the human population are quickly leaving their footprint.

No. 2: Dhaka, Bangladesh


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 29.6

Located in southern Asia, between Burma and India, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh battles with the constant threat of water pollution. Surface water is often thick with disease and pollutants from the use of commercial pesticides. With an estimated 150 million people living in a relatively small area, cleaning up the problem won't be easy.

No. 1: Baku, Azerbaijan


Mercer Health and Sanitation Index Score: 27.6

Surrounded by Iran, Georgia, Russia and Armenia on the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan has long been an oil hub. As a consequence, Baku, the capital, suffers from life-threatening levels of air pollution emitted from oil drilling and shipping.


whatsup on January 24, 2020:

greta should start here

Sawhack on April 20, 2019:

Metro Manila should be at number 1 in this list, Filthiest place on earth garbage everywhere you look from road side, river, sea all full of garbage I cant breathe without a mask in this City its the most dirtiest than anyone on this list.... plus its not safe to be there lots of crime murder day and night people have no discipline traffic everywhere this City is a trash dont ever Go there

Kushal Gupta on January 06, 2019:

While India is making small & critical efforts in sanitization sector

Ariel J. Littaua on May 09, 2018:

METRO MANILA is out of here. Definitely, it's a biggest achievement that Manila attain or acquire because over the past decades the center of economic of the Philippines was awfully or aggressively filthy than any other city in ASIA & PACIFIC but because of hundred of policy that established in Manila the city is now getting clean. Actually Philippine COUNTRYSIDE is very clean especially DAET CITY, BAGUIO CITY, NAGA CITY, DAVAO CITY and many more EXCEPT Manila because it's very congested.

Susan George on December 14, 2017:

Mumbai is transforming each day and government is doing alot to work with the issue

Richardots Omanga on October 24, 2017:

As a Kenyan, I think Nairobi, Kenya should be on the list somewhere. No idea why they left it out...

Anonymous on October 18, 2017:

Poor africans. I am in the eastern hemisphere.

Adama Jah on December 04, 2016:

Where did your leaf Monrovia Liberia

Mark on September 23, 2016:

This is not true, moscow city is very clean i dont know from where u got this picture i live in moscow almost 2 years and please dont forget the moscow is very cold country and all bad bactireia dies when its under zero degrees. and moscow its so big city.

i think this is a racist its not fair to share only your opinions but not the facts. you did not mention lot of cities also. please be honest when you write something to official

the thor on August 27, 2016:

wtf you took new york as 100, than what would vienna count 200 or 300

anonymous on August 15, 2016:

u should make one including rio

ANAK NG TETENG on August 07, 2016:

India is the worst and dirtiest city, their people don't know personal hygiene, they are all stinky that what makes their places dirty and polluted. Most of them only take a bath every year and they always used same clothes every day!

Zahid Khan on September 08, 2015:

Pakistan have a world's beautiful capital Islamabad

boss on June 11, 2015:

but india is best country in the world

clean up e world make it a bettr place on May 11, 2015:

Never b cruel to mother earth


Chukwunonso Okoli on March 12, 2015:

lies, pure lies. perhaps the people that write this site should actually travel to these countries before showing such things. I'm not saying this isn't Nigeria, I'm just saying this isn't all there is to it

jacky777 on May 02, 2012:

could you tell me where is Guangzhou city of China this is no.1 dirtiest city in world why not have in list or may be Chinese Govt. gave black money that is why you erase from list

boma on April 21, 2012:

Africa is a rich continent, there are lots of beautiful city out there to be shown. Represent Africa with its image of beauty and not its refuse dump.

Edet okon on April 17, 2012:

Govt should provide waste bins on the city roads nd streets. There should create centralise or decentralize area of refuze in the city. Also to employ casual workers to clean city environment

sergio hablo on March 31, 2012:

baku also has very beautiful places i don't think there is the worst city of the world

Francis on March 26, 2012:

Dema Daniels - why should Kampala be on that list?

Dema Daniels on March 26, 2012:

Funny how Kampala, Uganda is not on the list.

Kate on March 23, 2012:

I don't know about any other cities but I know Port Harcourt that it is not what the picture shows. Port harcourt is far neeter and cleaner than what is portrayed. so pls whoever that took that photo should remove it. It is an insult to Rivers State as a whole for presenting PortHarcourt the capiltal as one of the dirtiest cities in the world.

Venkat on March 19, 2012:

Chennai city in Tamilnadu is also one of the dirtiest place. RIver Coovum is overflowing here creating diseases. You can see lot of rubbish and damamaged roads in Chennai

real china a shit on March 15, 2012:

if you are on for china .... its no where clean its world most air polluted area .... and its system works on bannig things...

media over there is state controlled.

many restriction on its citizen.

communist country.

no freedom of speech against state.

no democracy.

it only allows tourist to visit clean places and not the dirty side of china...

yoy have to take guide to visit china if you are a tourist ,,,,, and he will only show you allowed places for visiting.

this is how china is .....

always see the other side of the coin too. my frnd.

and i know this article is on cleanthiness.. some comments above is directly offending my religion hinduism and i'll never tolerate this....


VINESH on March 13, 2012:

What was mention about India its true. I agreed indeed, Its powerfull in economic, army,millatry weapon and population.

But one think you have to consider the comment is dirtiness of the country.Its was the tourist complaint

and world media analysis too. Of course own nationalty will disagreed. Because they were used to its. Before blame the government public should cooperate to keep their own nation clean. Despite lack of water public area become sanitory area. Men women shit/ urine has were they like.Even though they never bother about the crowd. India is over populated.Democratic spoil the whole national.

The world largest population country Mr. China see how they keep the country very clean and tidy. But politicle party spoil the people and people spoil the nation. That is the reason the India is one is the dirties country took place in the list.

Sorry to say.


Even though

vijay srinivas on March 09, 2012:

i had been to switzerland some time back, and i found the country to be xtremely clean & tidy. It was not a package tour, and i had a choice to go where i want. I was surprised that there was no garbage heap anywhere, and not a single person spitting or peeing in the streets, unlike in india. I cant imagine why indians don't stop spitting, pissing & littering in the streets.

A person should not visit only connaught place & india gate & conclude that delhi is clean, but must also visit other areas of their choice to explore

to eduardo on March 04, 2012:

discrimination against cast ...... i think you r living 80s, world has changed my friend,,,,,

for supporting all the backward classes we have 49.5% reservation for them including muslims in all the colleges, entrance examination and and govt. jobs,

The largest state of our country is having a democratically selected chief minister who belongs to the most backward class of society.

The speaker of our legislative assembly is also elected and is from a backward class.

our previous president was a muslim,

Dr. APJ Abdul kalam

and a prime minister of sikh religion ,

Dr. Manmohan Singh

they were elected democratically by a population of 80% following hiduism ,

if this is called discrimination on the basis of cast and religion ... then yes we do discrimination...........

now for poor people...... in some areas

75% of them are not indians they are from Bangladesh and nepal ,,,, which came to india during the freedom war of bangladesh from Pakistan ,,,, where the enemy forces killed more than 3 million innocent people who wanted to escape from bangladesh ..... that time the people escaped and came to india.... in India the govt. provided them ration cards for buying food at the rate of 85% less than the market price for their upliftment.

india is the largest democracy .......

you can't judge someone sitting a distance away from him....

Namaskara ..... (greetings with heads down and palm joined , because we think that god resides in every human baings heart) .

Eduardo on February 29, 2012:

Tamara this discussion is stupid, the only thing u ve to consider is respect the cultural differences, and i hate when indians or French of any religion or nationality try to defend his point of view without consider that there are many common sence things to follow, i been in india is tru all the things u said but i wont say that is the largest democracy when u have poor people, discrimination agains cast, even religions problems, poor agains rich and rich agains richest, is a global problem don't try to protect something is everywhere and i respect that differecences un your religion and country but don't pretend to hide it.

silvino ahit makilala on February 29, 2012:

how about city of Manila,


Waltaji Terfa on February 28, 2012:

These cities and other need interventions which target the challenges. These interventions includes provision basic service, good governance and commitment of development partners

JK on February 13, 2012:

Why in a hell did you post the worst picture to depict Ethiopia?

viktor on February 07, 2012:

i don't think this is a credible analysis , i have been to a lot of cities in many countries and i have been to moscow too and i don't think moscow is dirty at all infact moscow is more clean than a lot of european cities

Pajre asamaan mej on January 27, 2012:

so glad Karachi is not on that!

god on January 23, 2012:

ive created this world terribly

Kashmiri on January 19, 2012:

unfortunately my passport is indian but i m from kashmir which is known as "paradise on earth"" i love kashmir

John on January 17, 2012:

It's most definitely not the whole world.

15 years ago I went to Korea and it was a $hit-hole just like India.

I'm here in Korea again after 15 years and let me tell you... they did their best to make the city clean and it worked! This place is so super clean now. I have no problems living here now. I have no respiratory problems and am so impressed with their recycling and use of renewable energy.

Maybe in 15 years India will clean up their act.

ahtesham ali on January 08, 2012:

improve the survey u fools....

rahul singhal on January 06, 2012:

the whole world not only india has become dirty due to the ever incresing demands of bad things

gavin on January 05, 2012:

why is a city in madagascar on the list

Neelanjan Chatterjee on January 05, 2012:

I should say ....The Whole World has become dirty with the growth of filthiness in the minds of people. Lets try to make this world a better one rather than fighting each other and comparing each other's nation who ranks the best. If we live in peace and harmony we can definitely make this world and the countries in this world a better tomorrow...So I must say that Human being is the biggest fool in this world who keeps no opportunity left to show true examples of sarcasm. WHAT'S THE USE IN COMPETING WITHIN OURSELVES. INSTEAD WHY DON'T WE THINK IN BUILDING A BETTER WORLD FOR OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS SO THAT THEY CAN BREATHE IN A MORE CLEANER, BETTER, HYGIENIC AND HEALTHIER WORLD.......PLEASE COMPARING YOUR NATIONS AND UNITE TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO MAKE THIS WORLD A LIVEABLE ONE.

Tehran Stinks on December 29, 2011:

Where is Tehran in this

you cant even see a few feet down the street because of the smog and the whole city is covered with a thin layer of filthy dirt - the rich north is just as bad a dump even though they think otherwise the whole city sucks

faty on December 13, 2011:

niCe wOrk..!! :)

hassam (author) from Pakistan on December 12, 2011:

The comments section is open to criticism, but only comments which are with in the boundaries of decent speech will be published. So kindly refrain from using swear words or personal attacks, the comments would be published.

Amit Dhungel on December 10, 2011:

Wow...I am very happy to know that Kathmandu doesn't come on the top 25 list of filthiest cities!! Cheers!!

anomim on December 10, 2011:

Bakuuuu? in this picture it is oil lands, it may be dirty, but u havnt seen Baku, thats why u r thinkin that)

Davis on December 05, 2011:

What about the cities of Mombasa in Kenya,Freetown in Sierra Leone,Abidjan in Ivory Coast,Juba in South Sudan,Kampala in Uganda,Kinshasa and Lubumbashi in DRC,Colombo in Sri Lanka,Jakarta in Indonesia,Manila in Phillipines,Asmara in Eritrea Bangkok in Thailand and Texas in USA?


allan diaz on December 05, 2011:

I believed many cities in India are dirtiest I've been many times in India also in Bangladesh too many animals like cow,dogs and monkey that might met in city roads and smells no good also a lots of beggars and dirty people,,,thanks God I;m not Indian..

Laxman on December 01, 2011:


Maybe it is #1 on the Most dirtiest cities in the whole universe.

samuelnkansah on December 01, 2011:

what about america or ghana

Thalwar on November 30, 2011:

Bangalore is ranked 141 in the list of most livable cities's numma bangalore ..

Utkarsh on November 28, 2011:

Hey guys if you are living in past then please wake up as india is not the same as what your grand parents told you about

india is having the second largest army in the world after china .

We have brahmos ballistic missile its hyper soni missile with a speed of 5 mach fastest in the world with best guided system in the world.

india is a nuclear power.

India was the country which was least effected by economic recession in 2008 & 2009.

Talking about beggars in india they are equal to jobless in USA or UK.

For Beauty worlds first wonder taj mahal in india .

And for Delhi capital of India , every coin has two faces the beggars you see in delhi are in just a very small area 7.5% delhi its a beutifull city with many industries , heritage sites , art halls , cultural corners and many moire things.

For seeing beauty in india you must visit diff states in india each has its own cultural heritage.

0 was given by india without which mathematics was not possible.

Decimal was given by india.

Trignometry was from india earlier which was tri con maitri.

Geometry was from india which wasearlier bhugol maitri.

Distance of moon from earth was calculated by indians.

Much earlier than john dalton and philosphers like aristotle , india told that matter has even smaller particles called anu and they consist parmanu now known as atom and atomic contents.

Sonia gandhi a great politician in india is seventh most power full women in the world.

Mhatma gandhi the face of peace an indian leader on his birthday we celebrate world peace day 2 october.

Our railways is ranked 7 in the world.

Our country is the best democratic country in the world.

India is a secular country not like pakistan where other religion are treated ........

Maximum no. Of scientist in nasa from one country are indian origin.

Great religion like sikkhism , buddhism and jainism were born in india.

After all the three states of matter other state of matter bose-einstein condensate was made by theories of indian scientist bose and albert einstien.

Hinduism our culture is one of the oldest in the world.

We are having very high purchasing power we'r in top 5.

To all my brothers i invite you all for a visit in india and se our country incredible india.

hellen on November 28, 2011:

india is more dirty than any country and beside this it also has too much beggers that also worse than rubbish i mean the source of rubbish.and its really shameful for india government.thanks god im not from india

Munna Bhai on November 17, 2011:

I am also a traveller as a voluntary, i have visited to more than 50 cities around the world. But i have never seen any dirty city like cities in pakistan & India. Both countries are the same. Even the watewr river in Taj Mahal is polluted. As we look to pakistan, they from their own hands has made their country polluted from bomb blasts plus nuclear waste has made pakistan dirty. Its not even good for health to vacate at pakistan and India.


degfachew on November 16, 2011:

of course Africa is taken as a garbage for the developed nations so we become "dirty" but be sure that Africans will come first soon...eyes will focus on Africa!!

Timi on October 20, 2011:

I lived in port harcourt for 19 years and i can tell you there are dirtier cities in Nigeria.Port Harcourt is not that dirty.

anvi on October 18, 2011:

maybe there are still many more countries in the world dirtier than many of these.

Krishna on October 16, 2011:

I could not find Kathamndu in the list, I think the writer is unaware of it...

prescott lukas on October 12, 2011:

unlike our country most parts of the world are very dirty due to pollution and other organic materials which make the environment dirty.Some of these are:

1:garbage burning


3:disporsing garbage into rivers

please lets try to avoid doing this especially oil companies that dump garbage into rivers.Doing this natural resourses are damaged and wasted.Lets make our environment safe for use

mohammed alrawi on September 23, 2011:

vary goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

ana on August 06, 2011:

o,,its nice that our country is not on the list !!

Muhammad on July 29, 2011:


????? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ?????


Cities occupied by U.S.A. in the forefront of the dirtiest cities according to this rank!

Dr. from Baghdad on July 08, 2011:

I think they forgot more dirty city than Baghdad, it is Cairo, Egypt..... isn't it? why they are consider Baghdad only from dirtiest, and why they forgot that this dirty and damage because there is no real government and all of that because of the American invasion???

sea999 on June 30, 2011:

Thank God m country didn't make another record!

Irfan on April 25, 2011:

There is not a single city of Pakistan included in this list. Pakistan is really a very clean country.


saad on March 21, 2011:

pakistan zindabad

ekata on March 20, 2011:

Kampala, Uganda. The capital of potholes, durst, garbage and air pollution. I am surprised it is not on the list. Those Forbes guys should make a visit to my home town. They will be very impressed.

april on January 19, 2011:

hi is that true

Tom on January 07, 2011:

Your Having a laugh. Surely London should be the dirtiest city in the World. London is a much dirtier city than those in Africa and Asia put together.

Eva Brown on January 07, 2011:

Pakistan is one of the Indian territory ? am I right.

Ramesh on December 16, 2010:


where is kathmandu?

hassam (author) from Pakistan on November 21, 2010:


Well many people have asked me this question concerning Pakistani cities so its about time I answer it.

This list was actually published by forbes in 2007 and the index score is based in comparison to New York city, which was given a score of 100.

I haven't visited any Indian city to compare it with the Pakistani ones, but the level of pollution can depend on the population of the cities.

India has heavily populated cities, and Pakistan has a comparatively lower population. I personally live in Karachi, which is the largest city of Pakistan, and the most populated one.

Obviously the air is filled with smog like many large cities of the world, but I wont say that the city is a complete junk yard.

There are of course many areas where pollution levels are high, specially the city center. But I would say more than half of Karachi is a clean place, with low air pollution and clean streets specially the residential areas very clean!

The other areas which include many commercial areas, industrial areas and residential areas occupied by the poor classes, are polluted greatly, these areas are the other half of the city, with lifestyle mostly rural based, so pollution is not much of an issue here.

The other major cities are Lahore, Hyderabad and Faisalabad. Here the pollution levels are high too. I I wouldn't really say that Pakistani cities are clean enough to not to enter any list, but may be the research didn't found them to be dirty enough.

Lastly I would like to comment on the, capital city Islamabad, about which I can bet that it is one of the cleanest and naturally beautiful major cities of the world. :)

Mr Nice from North America on November 20, 2010:

Hi Hassam,

Very interesting hub but did you miss any countries? How about some of Pakistani cities? Are they not similar to Indian cities?

grace on October 19, 2010:

Is there more that we could be doing.

Alice on July 26, 2010:

The inclusion of Moscow on this list is absurd! "No clean water"? Where is Mercer getting their information??? That one statement completely discredited the whole analysis for me.

Rafael on July 20, 2010:

I am originally from Baku, live in USA now. I have been to over 40 countries, haven't seen anything even close to Baku when it comes to pollution. Its quite sad... Impossible to breath... But from what I have heard, there are much worse places on our planet, such as Bangladesh, Calcutta, lots of cities in Africa.

john fanta on April 29, 2010:

what is going on ! i m surprised Nirobi kenya not making the top 25 list hahahaha!

kaleemullah on April 12, 2010:

what about Kabul city in which rank it may take place?

carla on February 09, 2010:

that's health-threatening

Mikhail on February 03, 2010:

In a city where you can pay $3,000 a month for an apartment that doesn't even have clean running water, Moscow ....

What a nonsense! The tap water may be not the best, but it is clean and safe. Who and where ever found such an apartment in Moscow?

J. Patel on January 04, 2010:

I have been to Africa as well as India, Bangladesh. I agree that both South Asia and Africa in general tend to have the dirtiest cities, but I find it hard to believe that Mumbai, Delhi and Dhaka score less than African cities. South Asian and Latin American cities are bad but they are nothing as bad as African cities in general. However, the cities in South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius and the Northern Arab part are better than South Asian ones.

AZERI on February 03, 2009:

Hi, My name is Karim. I'm from Baku, I feel myself bad hearing that I live in the worst city of the world. I knew that it's polluted city, but I didn't know that it's most polluted city in the world. I think maybe there are some cities more polluted than Baku. But it doesn't change the result. As a result it's as polluted as the cities of Africa in which there are really problems of water etc. As a citizen of Baku I don't have any ideas to solve this problem. But actually our government don't try to solve that problem. They think about themselves, only think how to take money-as a corruption, how to strip the people. On 18 march we will have a referendum. After that referendum there will not be any limit for selection of president. Now it's 2 time for each person. It means each person can be elected only two time, but after that referendum there will not be a limit. So that fucking president will be a president till the end of his life as a ex-Turkmen president. Maybe many of you don't know, but our president's father was also a president. Maybe it doesn't seem you as a problem, but the main problem is that they liquidated the opposition. Now there's not any opposition party which can really criticize the government which has so many mistakes. I'm not happy living in this country. Maybe you can't imagine that...

Godofredo Arauzo on January 08, 2009:

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Reply to the commentary of Mr Victor Belaunde about Contamination of La Oroya, Perú.

Dr. Godofredo Arauzo

Blacksmith Institute visited the Oroya city in May 2008. The observations about the achievements in the pollution by this metallurgic complex, according to statements of The Inter American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) by its name in Spanish.are DECEIVING, because such statements have no basis; is a summary presented by Doe Run. AIDA sustain that the environmental quality and the fulfillment or the degree of protection for human health of the Oroya city can not be evaluated based on the quantity of investment made by the company but it should be done based on the current data about the quality of air, lead level in the blood and another environmental and health indicators, that the report does not take into account (1).

Critic that Blacksmith is based on limited datum in order to evaluate, for example, the sulphur bioxide (SO2) level in the zone. Blacksmith Institute affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya city has a day time average of 5.000 ug/m3 (maximum allowed is 13 ug/m3) (CDC); but during the day that Blacksmith was in the Oroya, the SO2 concentration was 0.(1)

Finally AIDA concludes that the Blacksmith report undermines the efforts to really reach the remediation and cleaning of Oroya city (1)

AIDA express too that the quality of air in the Oroya has deteriorated seriously after the metallurgic complex came into Doe Run’s hands. Doe Run itself said that the lead concentration raised to 1.163%, the arsenic to 606% and the cadmium to 1990% (2). The concentrations of lead, cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide and others have substantially increased since 1997, mainly due to the increasing of production; for example, the lead production raised 25% (2). The inhabitants of Oroya city are contaminated by a toxic cocktail (4); it is a living laboratory.

The cadmium concentration (Cd) raised dramatically since the acquisition of the complex by Doe Run. In 1999 the Cd concentration was 0.22 ug/m3 in the Syndicate (the level allowed was 0.0055 ug/m3); it surpassed by more than 40 times the frontier and did not inform anymore to the Ministry for Mines and Energy (MEM) since year 2000; in the same way, the arsenic concentration soared meaningly since 1997. There is not monitoring of particulate material smaller than 2.5 micra (PM 2.5), that are the most dangerous to human health and move easily. Ceverstav says that the parameters of air quality have been deteriorated dramatically after Doe Run have in charge of the complex (5)

The Environment Protection Agency of USA (EPA), has 1467 chemical compounds registered as the most harmful and the sulphur dioxide (SO2) is ranking number 16 in dangerousness (6). Cevestav showed based on the same figures that Doe Run sends to MEM every 3 months, that SO2 emission had incremented in more than 200% since Doe Run has in charge the complex (5).

Blacksmith affirms that the SO2 concentration in the Oroya is in average 5,000 ug/m3 (1); another author reports that this average is 934 ug/m3 (2); the level allowed is 13 ug/m3 (7). The day time concentration is higher between 8 am and 5 pm and it reaches a peak of 2,100 ppb (the allowed value is 280 ppb) (5). In August 13. 2008 the SO2 concentration arrived to an historic and horrifying limit: 27,000 ug/m3 (8-9-10) (the allowed figure is 13 ug/m3 (7).

Another heavy metals and highly toxic compounds are not analysed in the Oroya: vanadium, uranium, mercury, antimony, barium, selenium, chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, and aluminum (2). The inhabitants of the Oroya are contaminated, not only with lead but too with cadmium, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, and antimony, as well; the antimony concentration is 30 times higher than in USA (11): .

There has not been any decrease in the air concentration of lead in the last 5 years in the Oroya; in Huanchan such concentration is above 15 times the level permitted; in the months of January and February 2007 it was an excess of 245% above the allowed level in Huanchan station; in 2006 the cadmium concentration exceeded 48 times the levels allowed by the WHO (12): lead production increased by 25% (2).

Doe Run monitors only specific sources; it does not monitor the toxic agents that are emitted through the 95 small chimneys neither it monitors to the deposits of concentrateds and deposits to arsenic of Vados and Malpaso, as it does not monitor either the elimination coming from the industrial incinerator and the cock plant that was emitting 23,800 meters cubits per day of toxic gases (PAMA).

Doe Run explained that the pollution of the Oroya had diminished; one attendant person spitted that the pollution has increased; the lecturer answered: show me a document about your statement and the person replied: the best document who I count of is my contaminated body’ (4).

The SO2 emissions from the cooper Peruvian smelting are among the production sources of the highest sulphur dioxide concentration in the world and they are also among the most contaminated production sources in the world (13).

There is not concrete information about the quality control systems to the sampling and to the analysis of the monitoring procedure used by the company; we are not certain about the accuracy, confidentiality and suitable of the information reported to MEM; the figures reported to MEM could be considered as an approximation and are under valuated and they are not in electronic neither in graphic form (5).

The contamination generated in La Oroya is not only limited to this city, but it also pollutes distant areas like Concepcion, 100 km far away of Oroya: University of Missouri found lead in the blood of children with ages 0 to 6 years: 20 to 44 ug/dl in the 72.22% ; 10 to 19 ug/dl in the 16.67%; 45 to 69 ug/dl in the 8.33% and less than 10 ug/dl in the 2.78%; it means that the 97.22% of the children of the city of Conception are contaminated with more than 10 ug/dl of lead in their blood; the amount permitted was 10 ug/dl; but, at present the Academy of Paediatrics of USA says that the maximum allowed is 0 ug/dl of lead in the blood (14). In the rural zone near the Oroya, Cuchimachay there is an amount of 59.26 ppm (the allowed level being 3 ppm) of cadmium in the soil; there is no vegetal cap in this place (15).

The metallurgic complex of Oroya has 37 liquid flows that go to the Mantaro river; Doe Run monitors only 12. The rules of the Peruvian state about monitoring of the quality of water in the mining works state that all the liquid discharges that go to surface waters must be constantly monitored (5-16).

The 2006, 26 July Doe Run obtained the ISO 14001:2004 certificate (17) and the 2008, 11 March was removed because the company did not fulfull the Peruvian environmental laws, and did not have appropriate measures for preventing the pollution (18).

Doe Run the 2007 commited 4 heavy and 1 simple violence environment that the Peruvian state had to put to Doe Run a fine to $ 724,500 (The Comercio 08. 20-12)

In Huancayo, 120 km far away from La Oroya there is jurisprudence. In 1942 the Judiciary Power orders to the Cerro de Pasco Copper Corporation, owner of Oroya at that time, to pay a compensation of $ 200,000 to Bazo Velarde, because of the harms caused to the Jatunhuasi Livestock, by the smokes

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