PM2.5 air pollution, population exposed to levels exceeding WHO guideline value (% of total) - Country Ranking

Definition: Percent of population exposed to ambient concentrations of PM2.5 that exceed the WHO guideline value is defined as the portion of a country’s population living in places where mean annual concentrations of PM2.5 are greater than 10 micrograms per cubic meter, the guideline value recommended by the World Health Organization as the lower end of the range of concentrations over which adverse health effects due to PM2.5 exposure have been observed.

Source: Brauer, M. et al. 2016. “Ambient Air Pollution Exposure Estimation for the Global Burden of Disease 2013.” Environmental Science & Technology 50, no. 1: 79–88.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 The Gambia 100.00 2013
1 Qatar 100.00 2013
1 Singapore 100.00 2013
1 Barbados 100.00 2013
1 Djibouti 100.00 2013
1 Mauritania 100.00 2013
1 Turkmenistan 100.00 2013
1 St. Lucia 100.00 2013
1 Sudan 100.00 2013
1 Antigua and Barbuda 100.00 2013
1 Burkina Faso 100.00 2013
1 Cabo Verde 100.00 2013
1 Dominica 100.00 2013
1 Jordan 100.00 2013
1 Lebanon 100.00 2013
1 Benin 100.00 2013
1 Egypt 100.00 2013
1 Bahrain 100.00 2013
1 Malta 100.00 2013
1 Bangladesh 100.00 2013
1 Guinea-Bissau 100.00 2013
1 Grenada 100.00 2013
1 Syrian Arab Republic 100.00 2013
1 Eritrea 100.00 2013
1 Kuwait 100.00 2013
1 Togo 100.00 2013
1 Israel 100.00 2013
1 Luxembourg 100.00 2013
1 Senegal 100.00 2013
1 Mali 100.00 2013
1 Yemen 100.00 2013
1 Belgium 100.00 2013
1 Libya 100.00 2013
1 Oman 100.00 2013
1 Sierra Leone 100.00 2013
1 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 100.00 2013
37 Pakistan 100.00 2013
38 Chad 100.00 2013
39 Niger 100.00 2013
40 Korea 100.00 2013
41 Netherlands 99.99 2013
42 Saudi Arabia 99.99 2013
43 India 99.99 2013
44 Algeria 99.97 2013
45 Uzbekistan 99.97 2013
46 Iran 99.96 2013
47 Albania 99.94 2013
48 Ghana 99.94 2013
49 Iraq 99.94 2013
50 Guinea 99.93 2013
51 Central African Republic 99.88 2013
52 Moldova 99.86 2013
53 Azerbaijan 99.83 2013
54 United Arab Emirates 99.83 2013
55 Lao PDR 99.83 2013
56 Nepal 99.81 2013
57 Myanmar 99.80 2013
58 Morocco 99.79 2013
59 Cyprus 99.78 2013
60 Burundi 99.76 2013
61 Tunisia 99.67 2013
62 Nigeria 99.66 2013
63 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 99.63 2013
64 China 99.57 2013
65 Uganda 99.45 2013
66 Bulgaria 99.36 2013
67 Cambodia 99.24 2013
68 Afghanistan 99.20 2013
69 Macedonia 99.16 2013
70 Côte d'Ivoire 99.01 2013
71 Hungary 98.97 2013
72 Romania 98.62 2013
73 Sri Lanka 98.56 2013
74 Czech Republic 98.56 2013
75 Tajikistan 98.47 2013
76 Rwanda 98.21 2013
77 Armenia 98.20 2013
78 Greece 98.02 2013
79 Croatia 97.92 2013
80 Ukraine 97.76 2013
81 Kyrgyz Republic 97.65 2013
82 Turkey 97.64 2013
83 Serbia 97.43 2013
84 Poland 97.41 2013
85 Dem. Rep. Congo 97.32 2013
86 Italy 97.08 2013
87 Vietnam 96.86 2013
88 Slovak Republic 96.86 2013
89 Switzerland 96.31 2013
90 Ethiopia 95.92 2013
91 Cameroon 95.84 2013
92 Slovenia 95.43 2013
93 Germany 95.26 2013
94 Liberia 95.08 2013
95 Bhutan 94.76 2013
96 Haiti 92.78 2013
97 Montenegro 92.70 2013
98 Bosnia and Herzegovina 92.60 2013
99 Belarus 92.48 2013
100 Japan 92.27 2013
101 Georgia 92.13 2013
102 Thailand 92.02 2013
103 Lithuania 91.79 2013
104 Angola 90.29 2013
105 Austria 88.26 2013
106 France 85.40 2013
107 The Bahamas 85.39 2013
108 Latvia 82.75 2013
109 Lesotho 82.39 2013
110 Dominican Republic 82.03 2013
111 Congo 81.17 2013
112 Malaysia 79.36 2013
113 Venezuela 77.88 2013
114 Indonesia 76.20 2013
115 El Salvador 75.86 2013
116 Suriname 74.93 2013
117 Swaziland 74.39 2013
118 Guatemala 74.29 2013
119 Russia 73.21 2013
120 Zambia 71.74 2013
121 Jamaica 71.67 2013
122 Ecuador 70.78 2013
123 Kazakhstan 70.77 2013
124 Spain 69.59 2013
125 Colombia 69.00 2013
126 South Africa 68.76 2013
127 United Kingdom 68.00 2013
128 Paraguay 65.93 2013
129 Gabon 63.73 2013
130 Canada 63.41 2013
131 Mexico 61.93 2013
132 Kenya 59.76 2013
133 Chile 58.71 2013
134 Equatorial Guinea 58.60 2013
135 Brazil 52.62 2013
136 United States 50.21 2013
137 Denmark 49.44 2013
138 Peru 48.91 2013
139 Botswana 45.44 2013
140 Bolivia 42.44 2013
141 Portugal 37.39 2013
142 Costa Rica 36.56 2013
143 Brunei 35.88 2013
144 Argentina 35.21 2013
145 Trinidad and Tobago 34.76 2013
146 Philippines 34.17 2013
147 Andorra 34.07 2013
148 Estonia 32.19 2013
149 Tanzania 29.46 2013
150 Somalia 28.83 2013
151 Zimbabwe 27.20 2013
152 Mauritius 26.64 2013
153 Honduras 23.62 2013
154 Guyana 22.21 2013
155 Malawi 18.61 2013
156 Mongolia 17.34 2013
157 Finland 17.21 2013
158 Namibia 15.28 2013
159 Mozambique 13.30 2013
160 Sweden 12.35 2013
161 Cuba 10.99 2013
162 Ireland 8.38 2013
163 Norway 5.71 2013
164 Panama 4.29 2013
165 Papua New Guinea 3.84 2013
166 Nicaragua 3.81 2013
167 New Zealand 1.72 2013
168 Vanuatu 0.90 2013
169 Iceland 0.90 2013
170 Solomon Islands 0.69 2013
171 Australia 0.28 2013
172 Madagascar 0.17 2013
173 Tonga 0.00 2013
173 Comoros 0.00 2013
173 Timor-Leste 0.00 2013
173 Fiji 0.00 2013
173 Samoa 0.00 2013
173 São Tomé and Principe 0.00 2013
173 Seychelles 0.00 2013
173 Kiribati 0.00 2013
173 Belize 0.00 2013
173 Uruguay 0.00 2013

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Development Relevance: Air pollution places a major burden on world health. More than 40 percent of the world’s people rely on wood, charcoal, dung, crop waste, or coal to meet basic energy needs. Cooking with solid fuels creates harmful smoke and particulates that fill homes and the surrounding environment. Household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels is responsible for 3.9 million deaths a year—about one every 8 seconds. In many places, including cities but also nearby rural areas, exposure to air pollution exposure is the main environmental threat to health. Long-term exposure to high levels of fine particulates in the air contributes to a range of health effects, including respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and heart disease, resulting in 3.2 million deaths annually. Not only does exposure to air pollution affect the health of the world’s people, it also carries huge economic costs and represents a drag on development, particularly for low and middle income countries and vulnerable segments of the population such as children and the elderly.

Limitations and Exceptions: Pollutant concentrations are sensitive to local conditions, and even monitoring sites in the same city may register different levels. Direct monitoring of PM2.5 is still rare in many parts of the world, and measurement protocols and standards are not the same for all countries. These data should be considered only a general indication of air quality, intended for cross-country comparisons of the relative risk of particulate matter pollution. The guideline set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for PM2.5 is that annual mean concentrations should not exceed 10 micrograms per cubic meter, representing the lower range over which adverse health effects have been observed. The WHO has also recommended guideline values for emissions of PM2.5 from burning fuels in households.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Michael Brauer, Greg Freedman, Joseph Frostad, Aaron van Donkelaar, Randall V. Martin, Frank Dentener, Rita van Dingenen, Kara Estep, Heresh Amini, Joshua S. Apte, Kalpana Balakrishnan, Lars Barregard, David Broday, Valery Feigin, Santu Ghosh, Philip K. Hopke, Luke D. Knibbs, Yoshihiro Kokubo, Yang Liu, Stefan Ma, Lidia Morawska, José Luis Texcalac Sangrador, Gavin Shaddick, H. Ross Anderson, Theo Vos, Mohammad H. Forouzanfar, Richard T. Burnett, and Aaron Cohen. 2016. “Ambient Air Pollution Exposure Estimation for the Global Burden of Disease 2013.” Environmental Science & Technology 50, no. 1: 79–88. Data on exposure to ambient air pollution are derived from estimates of annual concentrations of very fine particulates produced by the Global Burden of Disease study, an international scientific effort led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Estimates of annual concentrations are generated by combining data from atmospheric chemistry transport models, satellite observations of aerosols in the atmosphere, and ground-level monitoring of particulates. Overlaying PM2.5 estimates with gridded population data, the percent of a nation's people that lives in areas where PM2.5 concentrations exceed recommended levels is calculated by summing the population for grid cells where PM2.5 concentrations are beyond a threshold value, in this case 10 micrograms per cubic meter, and then dividing by total population.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual