The 10 Most Polluted Cities in the World

Four of them are in Iran

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Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images

Young Arab Iranians swim in the Karoon river in Ahwaz, Iran, July 21, 2003.

A day after the World Health Organization published a report linking air pollution to lung cancer, Quartz has put together a list of the most polluted cities in the world, based on data from the same organization. While the list originally came out this Spring, it’s an important reminder given the recent health news.

At the top? The city of Ahwaz, in Western Iran. With a population of more than three million, it is also the capital of the Khuzestan Province, which produces most of Iran’s oil. Like the other cities in the WHO’s top ten, it is a center of heavy industry.

Here are the ten most polluted cities, ranked by the amount of airborne particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter per cubic meter of outdoor air:

1. Ahwaz, Iran

2. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

3. Sanandaj, Iran

4. Ludhiana, India

5. Quetta, Pakistan

6. Kermanshah, Iran

7. Peshawar, Pakistan

8. Gaborone, Botswana

9. Yasouj, Iran

10. Kanpur, India

[Quartz]

18 comments
dmazraeh
dmazraeh

Please note that the most polluted city in the world, Ahwaz , is an occupied city in Southwestern Iran. The pollution is intentional with the Iranian regime trying to destroy the water and the natural environment. There is no reason for Ahwaz to be the number one polluted city in the world with it's 3 million population. I understand that it's an industrial city , but has this not rang a bell in your mind, that this may be a strategy of the Iranian regime to destroy a complete race of people? place factories in the middle of the city , and causing people cancer is one way to destroy the cities and cultures you occupy. I beg and plead that people do more research on Ahwaz and understand that it has been occupied by Iran since 1925, and Iran has been constantly coming up with ways to destroy its natural environment and the aboriginal people of Ahwaz 

dherrer1
dherrer1

recycled news... TIME mag is losin it...

SHamSunderAzad
SHamSunderAzad

THE STUDY SEEMS NOT VERY CONVINCING,WITHOUT STATISTICAL DATA. WE INDIANS DO REALISE THE TWO CITIES HAVE BEEN HIGHLY POLLUTED BUT THERE ARE MANY MORE INDUSTRIAL TOWNS.NGOS' EFFORTS TO FACILITATE IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY EVALUATED.POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD(s)HAVE BEEN MONITORING THE SITUATIONS-AND SO SHALL BE THE EFFORTS OF  RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITIES IN OTHER COUNTRIES TOO.HOWEVER DATA OF MOST POLLUTED CITIES SHALL HAVE TO BE REVISED-ITS TO BE SUPPORTED STATISTICALLY& PROFESSIONAL  MUST BE  SENSITIVE TO ISSUES  SHAM SUNDER AZAD  FRSC  CCHEM CSci

OxygenMolecule
OxygenMolecule

Apparently the report only reflects the amount of dust particles of smaller than ten micron in the air. Other polutants are omited in this report, or they are not reflected here. Conclusions based on just numbers and orders without noticing the source of these polutants (dust particles) will go nowhere. As far as I know the source of the dusts that exists in the west and southwest of Iran, is not industrial activities. These dusts come from Iraq deserts with seasonal winds. All four mentioned cities are located in west to southwest of iran. none of them are industrial cities. There are just some gas refineries around Ahwaz, and we know that sort of industry do not exhaust particles into atmosphere. Also, Ahwaz' population barely reaches one million, you can check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Iranian_cities_by_population. It is true that polution control is not done properly in Iran, but the particles in western areas have different story.

BilalKhan
BilalKhan

This is a such an ill researched survey, Peshawar and Quetta are capitals of their state/province and the best cities in the province, there are other cities more polluted in Pakistan, and India is filled with polluted cities all over, even Bangladesh and other cities in the World. I dont trust this, i expect more research and less biasness from Time, and not that i support Iran but why is Iran highligted so much everywhere? What is Time trying to say when under the title they write 'Four of them are in Iran'?

WilliamHead
WilliamHead

Did you notice that not one city, NOT ONE, is in Europe or the US. The world is being polluted, but it's the third world that doing the most of it.

excalibur
excalibur

The city of Ahwaz is being destroyed deliberately to force the Arabs out and replace them by Persians. The karoon river is being dryed up and it.s waters being transferred to Persian populated areas. This is a genocide against the environment waged by the Persian clerical regime.

jcanch
jcanch

Hard to believe Harbin (China) did not make the top ten.

ZacocomZaccom
ZacocomZaccom

@SHamSunderAzad stop polluting comments with caps indian city polluter


cities are overpopulation bags


they are unsustainable and polluting


all cities pollute


nuf said

AbuMousa
AbuMousa

@OxygenMolecule Kuwait City and Bushehr are nearby and have very low pollution levels. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have dust storms and do not feature on the list. Industrial pollution is a problem in Iranian cities, particularly Ahwaz which is affected by pollutants from the oil, gas and petrochemicals industries. The region is more arid as a result of the Iranian government's controversial river diversion programme.

celtic533
celtic533

No I think you are just being bitter because no western cities are on there and it's funny how your trying to say India has polluted cities all over which I'm sure it does more so than Pakistan.But I can totally tell your stereotypical Pakistani view on it.Theres nothing biased about this article.Btw I've lived in a Pakistan and Karachi has a lot of pollution but there are a lot of trees as well that filter the air.I can speculate that Quetta would have have less greenery and more industrial work which would contribute to the pollution factor.

Abhinav
Abhinav

@WilliamHead yes of course the third world is contributing now, as was previously done by industrialized countries. Its sad to have comments like these blaming others.     

RockCrawford1
RockCrawford1

@WilliamHead There are third world countries in South America too, but they aren't on this list & Africa only has one. What is your point?

Tahereh.Irani
Tahereh.Irani

@excalibur 
I dont think the government (or any other group) did really plan to pollute Ahwaz to force Iranian people who speak Arabic  to leave the city. They basically dont care about any Iranian or Iran. There is a huge amount of mismanagement and corruption that no one is responsible  about it (neither people nor government). 

BilalKhan
BilalKhan

and the reason i compared places like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran are because I have travelled and lived there, and Quetta and Peshawar are not even industrial cities (dont know about the rest)

BilalKhan
BilalKhan

@celtic533 ur the one whose being stereotypical, i did not say i was being bitter because there were no western cities here, I even mentioned there are cities worse in Pakistan and the ones highlighted here are the cleaner and better ones.


What I dont get is why Time would chose an article like this from everything else around the internet trying to highlight countries like Iran and Pakistan without credible information and ill researched surveys.