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‘Silent Killer’: A Look At The World’s Most Polluted Cities

By Victoria M. Walker

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Patna, in the Magadha region of India, topped the list of the most polluted cities on earth after a 24/7 Wall St. analysis reviewed air pollution concentrations in thousands of cities across the world.

Air pollution is a serious problem in developing countries worldwide and figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) are startling.

According to its figures, over 4 million people die every year as a result of exposure to outdoor air pollution. Another 3.8 million die from exposure to smoke from dirty cookstoves and fuels in the household. Children also face heightened risks. According to the WHO, nearly two million children die every year due to what it calls “unhealthy environments,” which includes air pollution.

Here are some other cities that made the list.

#24 – Kabul, Afghanistan

Years of war and instability in the country often meant that security was placed first over environmental issues. More than 17,000 people in Afghanistan died in 2016 from complications attributable to air pollution, according to the World Health Organization.

#21 – Karachi, Pakistan

According to a 2015 report, more than 300,000 deaths each year in Pakistan are caused by pollution. Experts in the country say that air pollution has become a “public emergency.” The founder of the Pakistan Air Quality Initiative told Gulf News that Karachi had only four days of “good” air quality in 2018.


#17 – Doha, Qatar

Doha is one of the world’s most polluted cities. The number of air pollutants increased significantly between 2007 and 2011, according to a 2011 report. Cars on the road in Doha more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, further contributing to pollution.

#12 – Kampala, Uganda

Voice of America called pollution a “silent killer” in Uganda. Studies by scientists, according to VOA, suggest about 14 percent of children living in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, have asthma. A WHO report said that 80 percent of Ugandans breathe polluted air.

#5 – New Delhi, India

The Guardian called pollution in New Delhi “an emergency.” Firefighters in the city have been called on to combat pollution by shooting water from high-rise buildings, according to the AP. The government also advised people to not jog and wear masks when outside.

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Victoria M. Walker

Victoria M. Walker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and full-time lecturer in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at her alma mater, Howard University. She was previously the breaking news and viral content video editor at The Washington Post.

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