Quality of outdoor air is deteriorating. It is alarming that around 90 % of the global population is being adversely affected by it as revealed by the WHO after an investigation of air pollution levels of 1600 cities in 91 countries.
Even more startling is the fact that only 12% of the world population is living in cities with permissible air pollution levels as recommended by the WHO. It is a great idea to be a globetrotter but it is equally imperative that we know how safe is the city we intend to visit in terms of pollution, health and sanitation.
Especially, travelers prone to sickness should avoid these cities. Back in 2012, a staggering 3.7 million people perished owing to polluted outdoor air. Third world countries are among the most unhygienic cities in the world. Travelers should think twice before a trip no matter how appealing may be their landscape beauty.
10 Most unhygienic cities in the world:
The concentration of air pollution is gauged in micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/cm3). PM 2.5, which means the particulate diameter is 2.5 micrometer or less, is the best indicator of air pollution. Here we go exploring 10 most unhygienic cities in the world:
1. Karachi, Pakistan:
The average PM 2.5 pollution of Pakistan is 101 micrograms per cubic meter as per the air sample collected in 2010. Average life expectancy is 66 years and WHO has ranked the city in the low to middle-income bracket sustained by mining, manufacturing and oil drilling industries.
Karachi, the most environmentally polluted city in Pakistan has a PM 2.5 of 117 µg/m3 and travelers to this city who are vulnerable to atmospheric pollution are likely to get sick. Karachi was ranked the 5th global city with the worst air pollution level.
2. Doha, Qatar:
Doha the capital of Qatar is not a recommended city for travelers with existing health issues. As per data collected by the WHO, it was declared the 12th most polluted cities of the world with a PM 2.5 of 93 micrograms per cubic meter.
Qatar with a population of 2 million and life expectancy of 78 years from the eastern Mediterranean region is a country belonging to high-income category. Nevertheless, that doesn’t absolve it from being one of the least tourist-friendly countries in terms of health and pollution hazards.
3. Kabul, Afghanistan:
Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan is a highly polluted city in terms of air quality. People already prone to illness are likely to get sick with aggravated conditions while traveling to Kabul. The economy is supported by agriculture and textile industry that throws a lot of waste and cotton fiber strands into the atmosphere degrading its quality. It is ranked 22nd among the most polluted cities with a PM 2.5 pollution rate of 86 microgram per cubic meter.
4. Baghdad, Iraq:
Baghdad is one of the most unhygienic cities to travel to. Air quality is highly polluted and the Mercer Health and Sanitation Index score is 39 which is very disturbing. Water quality is inferior facilitating the spread of water borne diseases.
People prone to sickness should avoid travelling to Bagdad. Air quality has further deteriorated by 1990 war injecting burnt petroleum toxics into the environment which is a very disappointing issue.
5. Mexico city, Mexico:
With Mercer health and sanitation index score 37.7, Mexico City is tagged as one of the most unhygienic cities of the world. Air pollution in the city has its source in the morbid ozone release that is further trapped by the surrounding volcanic mountains. Air pollution leads to smog that encapsulates the city like a blanket of sickness affecting people vulnerable to illness.
6. New Delhi, India:
The Mercer health and sanitation index score of New Delhi stands 46.6. It is unfortunate that the Indian capital achieves the rare distinction of being the most polluted city in the world in terms of outdoor air quality. Certainly, it is one of the most unhygienic cities to travel.
River Yamuna that flows by the city is devoid of any aquatic life owing to high water toxicity level. Lack of an efficient garbage and sewage management system has encouraged the transmission of water-borne diseases and enhanced frequency of infant morbidity.
7. Colombo, Sri Lanka:
Here the primary source of environmental pollution is the emission of fuel by vehicles that contribute to more than 60% of total toxic releases. Considered as one of the most unhygienic cities, the level of risk is very high for sick travelers to aggravate their health issues.
The average annual PM 10 levels in Colombo ranges from 72 to 82 micrograms per cubic meter. Frequent diseases are Dengue, Hepatitis A and traveler’s diarrhea. Treatment costs are pretty high.
8. Mumbai, India:
In spite of being India’s business hub and a modernized city, Mumbai couldn’t free itself from the stain of being one of the most unhygienic cities for travelers. It has earned a Mercer health and sanitation index score of 38.2 pushing it to dreaded zone for contracting diseases.
The proliferation of industries has invited outside workers setting up slums with rudimentary sanitation. However, the government is trying hard to resolve health and sanitation issues in the city.
9. Baku, Azerbaijan:
The Mercer health and sanitation index score for Baku is 27.6 and it is considered one of the filthiest cities and no surprise must be one of the most unhygienic cities as well. Pollution has its origin in oil exploration and shipping operations that have thrown the environment in a languid tailspin so far as air quality matters.
The worst part of it there isn’t any alternative economic activity to sustain growth in one hand and bail out the city from the sorry state of affairs concerning health and hygiene aspects on the other. In the near future, Baku continues to remain status quo discouraging the influx of sick travelers.
10. Dhaka, Bangladesh:
The capital city of Bangladesh is slowly approaching to winning the title of being one of the most unhygienic cities of the world. It shelters 15 million people and obviously very overcrowded. More people lead to more vehicles causing burnt fuel emissions harmful enough to pollute the atmosphere. Vulnerable travelers must plan for preventives before booking a flight to Dhaka.