The 13 countries with the highest death rates from air pollution

Photo: Getty / File

An overwhelming majority of the world’s population breathes polluted air, according to a new report from State of Global Air.

Ninety-five per cent of the world’s population lives in an area where the air quality does not meet the World Health Organisation’s healthy air guideline, which is PM2.5.

PM2.5 means particulate matter in the air – caused by motor exhaust or anything combustible – that is less than 2.5 micrometres.

The State of Global Air report also includes data detailing the number and rate of deaths attributable to air pollution in each country in 2016.

Below are the 13 countries with the highest death rates from air pollution:


13. Cote d’Ivoire

Death rate per 100,000 people: 248

Overall deaths: 23,700

Source: State of Global Air


12. North Korea

Death rate per 100,000 people: 249

Overall deaths: 56,100

Source: State of Global Air


11. Togo

Death rate per 100,000 people: 250

Overall deaths: 6,800

Source: State of Global Air


10. Soloman Islands

Death rate per 100,000 people: 250

Overall deaths: 700

Source: State of Global Air


9. Chad

Death rate per 100,000 people: 252

Overall deaths: 17,100

Source: State of Global Air


8. Sierra Leone

Death rate per 100,000 people: 261

Overall deaths: 7,200

Source: State of Global Air


7. Somalia

Death rate per 100,000 people: 265

Overall deaths: 12,200

Source: State of Global Air


6. Guinea

Death rate per 100,000 people: 265

Overall deaths: 15,200

Source: State of Global Air


5. Niger

Death rate per 100,000 people: 267

Overall deaths: 23,500

Source: State of Global Air


4. Guinea-Bissau

Death rate per 100,000 people: 317

Overall deaths: 2,500

Source: State of Global Air


3. Central African Republic

Death rate per 100,000 people: 320

Overall deaths: 8,600

Source: State of Global Air


2. Papua New Guinea

Death rate per 100,000 people: 322

Overall deaths: 11,300

Source: State of Global Air


1. Afghanistan

Death rate per 100,000 people: 406

Overall deaths: 51,700

Source: State of Global Air

Although China and the US are the largest carbon dioxide emitters in the world, their rates were rather low, with China experiencing 117 deaths per 100,000 and the US experiencing 21.

On the other hand, in 2016, 1.5766 million people died in China from air pollution, and 105,100 people died in the US.

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