Across the globe, people are suffocating in bouts of dense smog and extremely high levels of air pollution. Just about every country in the world grapples with pollution, no matter how rich or poor they are. Toxic countries are mostly a man-made problem. The single largest source of air pollutants is the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and petrol. Fossil fuels are used for heating, to operate transportation vehicles, in generating electricity, and in manufacturing and other industrial processes. Burning these fuels causes smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions.
When it comes to the air we breathe, who needs to clean up their act the most? The United Kingdom is placed 159th on the list with a particulate matter level of 12. The USA has been given the 173rd spot, with an impressively low particulate matter level of 8 – but what about the remaining countries?
The map below measures the toxicity of countries based on rates of particulate matter* in the air across 184 countries.